The Real Estate Code defines ‘behind the sign activity’ as the act of a practitioner approaching another practitioner’s client to solicit business.
Magain Real Estate principal and senior sales consultant Mike Dobbin said while it may not be “rife” it has been happening more in recent years.
“We have a certain code of ethics that are between us all as competitors that we do the right thing and you don’t go and approach your opposition’s clients; it is just not done,” he said.
“If it is happening a little bit more it is basically because of a couple of things: desperation because the market is pretty tight, and also the education process from some of the business owners to their sale staff probably needs to be improved,” he added.
Mr Dobbin’s comments follow a statement from the Real Estate Institute of South Australia (REISA), where a concern was highlighted about the “growing practice of some in the real estate profession deliberately going behind the sign to entice vendors into an alternative sales agency agreement”.
“Certain east coast techniques are not condoned by REISA and we assure members appropriate action will be taken,” the REISA said in the statement.
“Principals should be aware that should any of your staff engage in such practices and that particular staff member is not an individual practicing member, then REISA will be holding the principal responsible for any such breach of the code and any consequences that follow will be entirely attributable to that principal,” it added.
Harcourts Brock Williams director Stephanie Williams said she does not come across ‘behind the sign’ activity that often and it is not a concern of hers at the present time.
"I dare say in any industry where you have inexperienced, younger agents they might not understand the legalities and also the professional standpoint you should take,” she said.
“I like to think I have strong rapport with all of my vendors, such that if someone did approach them behind the scenes then it wouldn’t have an impact because I have that relationship with my vendors anyway,” she added.