A key industry body has called for the appointment of a dedicated commissioner for property services to create better consumer outcomes and standards.
Real Estate Institute of NSW president John Cunningham said creating a dedicated commissioner for the industry is paramount, since real estate is the greatest contributor to the national economy.
“It's interesting that the legal services commissioner has been set up for the legal world, the surveyors also have their own dedicated area within the land titles area, but property is just thrown in amongst everything else in Fair Trading,” he told RPM.
“Take, for example, the property spruikers and the damage that they're doing to property consumers; there's no real control or focus to dictate since it sits within other areas.”
Mr Cunningham noted that a dedicated commissioner would also help create a model of co-regulation between industry and government to create better outcomes for consumers and the real estate sector.
“Ultimately, what it leads to is where things such as audits, compliance and ongoing training are actually handled by government and industry,” he said.
“We know exactly what's going on with the consumer better than any consumer advocacy group; we know what's happening on a day-to-day basis on the ground to make sure that we keep up standards.”
According to Mr Cunningham, the customer experience could be greatly improved through small changes like electronic funds transfer, which currently sits in a dubious position due to the Conveyancing Act and the need for paper cheques.
“We should be at auctions signing contracts on iPads and paying funds by electronic funds transfer, because that's the modern world we’re in and we've been pushing these changes for years,” he said.
“When you've got government and industry at loggerheads, change is slow and protracted, but if you had a co-regulation model and a dedicated commissioner, things would happen much more quickly, because that commissioner is authorised to do certain things.”