The REIV has called on the Victorian Government to reject the current proposal to remove the educational, probity and licence requirements for commercial real estate agents.
REIV CEO Enzo Raimondo said that recent research conducted by UMR Research had shown that the public oppose the proposal, “it showed that 69 per cent of respondents disagree with the COAG (Council of Australian Governments) proposal to remove the requirement for commercial agents to be licensed.
“The public clearly understand that appropriate licensing and educational standards not only underpins the best outcome for those selling, buying or leasing property but also ensures consumer protection.
“The RIS (Regulation Impact Statement) proposes that licensing of commercial real estate agents is unnecessary because commercial and industrial property transactions are conducted by ‘sophisticated consumers and investors,’ yet an analysis of transactions in Victoria shows that 51 per cent of all commercial sales are valued at less than $500,000.
“The vast majority of consumers who deal with commercial estate agents rightly expect to engage a professional with the appropriate educational qualifications.
“Commercial estate agents hold significant amounts of client monies in their trust accounts subject to finalisation of a sales or leasing transaction, before being distributed to their client.
“These trust accounts are audited on an annual basis in line with the requirements of the Estate Agents Act. COAG is now proposing that there will be no requirement for trust accounts or probity checks as commercial agents will not be required to have any qualifications or be licensed – this is simply outrageous and irresponsible.
“I would like COAG to explain to the public and the profession how the removal of licences will increase efficiency, improve worker mobility and assist in moving Australia to a seamless economy,” Mr Raimondo concluded.
Chairperson of the REIV Commercial and Industrial Chapter, Joseph Walton said the proposal ignored the considerable professionalism and value a licensed real estate agent brings to the transaction.
“It is concerning that COAG think it sensible to let anyone, irrespective of whether they have been trained or not, transact in the commercial property markets. Not only does this ignore the considerable investment in education made by real estate agents but, more importantly it, ignores the importance of the consumer protection regime currently in place.
“If the proposal by COAG comes into effect, consumers selling, buying or leasing commercial property will no longer have the protection of the current probity laws governing estate agency practice, nor will they have access to the Victorian Property Fund in the event of a financial irregularity.
“Consumers and the economy benefit from well educated and licensed individuals dealing in commercial real estate. COAG need to deliver a national licensing scheme that enhances professional conduct and supports the real estate profession – as this will ultimately benefit the economy and, most importantly, the consumer,” Mr Walton concluded.