Agents ‘now expected to be across’ asbestos

One industry body has met with government agencies to better understand how the industry should deal with asbestos.

The Real Estate Institute of NSW said it had met with NSW Fair Trading and WorkCover NSW to discuss asbestos, which affects an unknown number of properties across the state.

Chief executive Tim McKibbin said the real estate profession has largely been left in the dark regarding how to effectively discharge responsibilities relating to asbestos.

"This is of particular concern to REINSW and we have been actively seeking guidance from NSW Fair Trading and WorkCover NSW. A real estate agent is simply not qualified to make an assessment as to whether asbestos is present,” he said.

"Over recent years, we have seen an escalation in the responsibilities associated with the role of the real estate professional. Agents are now expected to be across a broad range of issues, including asbestos."

WorkCover agreed at the meeting to develop an asbestos factsheet, setting out steps for agents and consumers to follow when addressing the risks associated with asbestos.

Once the factsheet is drafted, it will be provided to Fair Trading and REINSW for input before being finalised.

Mr McKibbin said although the factsheet is not a long-term solution to the problem, it will help agents deal with asbestos risk management.

“REINSW will continue to lobby for clarity in this area and we will keep members up to date regarding developments,” he said.

[Related: REIA keeps tabs on ACT for asbestos non-disclosure]

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