Underquoting at auctions and trust account fraud are the focus of a crackdown on unscrupulous real estate agents by the NSW government, a report has claimed.
In an article published in The Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday, NSW Fair Trading minister, Anthony Roberts, said up to 80 undercover inspectors were roving the industry looking for instances of underquoting at auctions and trust fund breaches.
“What we are doing is very much following a targeted approach based on intelligence and feedback from consumers with respect to underquoting and certainly how auctions are run,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald.
The article said that 50 auctions had been inspected by Fair Trading in the past two months, with “problems” identified at 19 of them. Eight agents were being investigated for failing to keep adequate pricing records in relation to 17 properties.
Mr Roberts told The Sydney Morning Herald that while he could understand how strong buyer interest at an auction could see the price surge well beyond earlier expectations, his main concern was when this occurred on a regular basis with the same agent.
The report added that 33 agents were also being investigated for trust account-related issues.
And more could follow, with a further 700 audits by Fair Trading, taken from a total of 20,000, being flagged for potential problems.