Debate erupts over how agents market homes

The requirements for an agent to market a house as architecturally designed are at the centre of a fierce debate in New Zealand.

According to a report in The New Zealand Herald late last week, the country’s Real Estate Agents Authority's Disciplinary Tribunal  has ruled that agents can describe a house as architecturally designed even if the plans were prepared by a person who wasn’t registered with the Registered Architects Board.

According to the article, the Tribunal said the true test was based on whether the designer had the required skills to design the house.

The decision, which came after an appeal by eight agents who had described houses as architect-designed, contradicts other similar judgments by the Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA).

The Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal (the Tribunal) is an independent body that is administered by the Ministry of Justice, and is separate to the REAA, which regulates the real estate industry.

New Zealand Institute of Architects' Auckland chairman Richard Goldie told the The New Zealand Herald that the decision undermined the word ‘architect’.

"The public I think should be quite alarmed by the real estate agents' position," he said.

REAA chief executive Kevin Lampen-Smith told the The New Zealand Herald that agents should still be cautious when it came to marketing properties as architect-designed.

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