Real estate agents and principals are making the same mistakes over and over again and landing in hot water with NSW Fair Trading, the regulator’s assistant commissioner has said.
Don Jones, assistant commissioner, compliance and enforcement at NSW Fair Trading told a packed room of agents and principals at an industry event in Parramatta in Sydney's west, that principals investigated by Fair Trading often made similar mistakes.
Many of them could easily be avoided, Mr Jones added.
“There are a number of errors agents and principals are making and we see them over and over again,” he told the 'industry update' event, jointly run by the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW) and Real Estate Employers’ Federation (REEF) of NSW.
According to Mr Jones, the top five issues that get agents into trouble are:
1. Licensees not having an understanding and/or primary access to their trust accountant.
2. Not keeping their licences current and visible
3. Having a “friendly” accountant or auditor
4. Agents making false representations to vendors and purchasers
5. Hiring the wrong staff and/or not training them properly.
“Whilst it is not necessary for an agent to display their licence on the wall, it can be the difference between noticing whether or not a licence has expired,” he said.
“We had an agent who practised for 18 months without a valued licence simply because it was tucked away in a draw, out of sight out of mind.”