The REINSW has said the regulatory environment for the property services industry in NSW needs to change, particularly its “paltry” training requirements.
It said that NSW Labor is to be congratulated on its recent announcement to establish a dedicated strata commissioner, but it added that a commissioner for all things property would serve the public even further.
CEO Tim McKibbin said that agents are charged with guiding consumers through complex transactions involving their most valuable asset.
“Traditionally, gaining a qualification for entry to the property services industry required three years at TAFE. The education requirement was slashed to four days by NSW Fair Trading in 2003, but since then property transaction values have skyrocketed and become increasingly more complex.
“REINSW has been lobbying the NSW government for improved education and training standards since then.”
Mr McKibbin said that the weeks leading up to the 23 March election is a key period.
“Government ultimately listened to REINSW, passing legislation in 2016 that will increase the education requirements by new entrants into practice by 600 per cent.
“Surprisingly, however, NSW Fair Trading has not yet implemented the reforms. We believe this is because Fair Trading believes more training will reduce competition in the industry. REINSW agrees competition is a positive market influence; however, it must be competition between well-educated, experienced professionals.”
He said that competition alone is not the cure for all that ails a market.
“The current education requirement not only fails to prepare agents to respond to the reasonable expectations of consumers, it fails people wanting a career in real estate practice. Eighty per cent of new entrants leave the industry in the first year.”
Mr McKibbin said that REINSW is calling for the appointment of an industry-experienced commissioner for property services who will work cooperatively and constructively with the industry.
“The industry, and more importantly consumers, need a regulatory authority that will work in a collegial manner, and support it. Industry’s current relationship with Fair Trading is adversarial, which benefits no one.”
He said that all industry stakeholders should be protected by quality legislation that evolves and promotes continuous improvement of standards.