Director slams new laws in SA

Staff Reporter

A South Australian director has hit out at new real estate laws introduced in South Australia yesterday.

According to managing director of Harris Real Estate Phil Harris, new laws designed to help consumers are likely to give them less information and could lead to agents being jailed if they help.

A raft of new South Australian real estate laws that came into effect yesterday expose agents to a fine of up to $20,000 or one year in prison if they quote a price under the eventual sales price - even if that is an accurate description of the market.

Mr Harris said the approach was likely to backfire as agents reconsidered releasing any information about property prices.

“There is definitely room for the industry to improve but this is like killing a mosquito with a shotgun,” he said.

“I understand the reasoning behind the rules and agree with them – after all, the industry needs to focus on improving the way it does business and we need to improve until people can respect our professionalism.

“But in this case, agents are likely to warn against issuing a price because they face jail time. That means buyers aren’t getting any information and so are more likely to waste their time and money on prospects they can’t afford. And yet this could be cleared up if agents were allowed to give an indication.

“An extreme precedent has been set.”

The new rules also allow companies to obtain a 48-hour cooling off period and allow Form 1s to be emailed – both moves that recognise how business is carried out today. 

Staff Reporter

A South Australian director has hit out at new real estate laws introduced in South Australia yesterday.

According to managing director of Harris Real Estate Phil Harris, new laws designed to help consumers are likely to give them less information and could lead to agents being jailed if they help.

A raft of new South Australian real estate laws that came into effect yesterday expose agents to a fine of up to $20,000 or one year in prison if they quote a price under the eventual sales price - even if that is an accurate description of the market.

Mr Harris said the approach was likely to backfire as agents reconsidered releasing any information about property prices.

“There is definitely room for the industry to improve but this is like killing a mosquito with a shotgun,” he said.

“I understand the reasoning behind the rules and agree with them – after all, the industry needs to focus on improving the way it does business and we need to improve until people can respect our professionalism.

“But in this case, agents are likely to warn against issuing a price because they face jail time. That means buyers aren’t getting any information and so are more likely to waste their time and money on prospects they can’t afford. And yet this could be cleared up if agents were allowed to give an indication.

“An extreme precedent has been set.”

The new rules also allow companies to obtain a 48-hour cooling off period and allow Form 1s to be emailed – both moves that recognise how business is carried out today. 

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