Under current national licensing proposals, 2,790 Victorian farm owners face the loss of consumer protections when selling or leasing.
REIV President Trevor Booth said that the Institute was strongly opposed to the deregulation of farm sales, as thousands of sellers would cease to enjoy any consumer protections and face worse sale outcomes.
“Governments have proposed that people acting as real estate agents would no longer need a licence if they were selling or leasing farms.
“If the property was used for primary production – as is almost every property outside of the city and towns – it would be classed as non-residential.
“This is a disturbing proposition, as most farm owners and buyers are the same consumers who’d benefit from consumer protections if they were in the city.
“The proposals suggest that farm owners don’t need the consumer protections provided to other owners, as they as ‘sophisticated investors’; yet, last year, three out of four rural farm sales were priced at under $500,000.
“If these proposals are made law it means that, if something went wrong, the seller would not be able to seek assistance from Consumer Affairs; they would have to take the matter up privately, and at great personal cost, in the courts.
“By using a licensed real estate agent sellers know that the person has met minimum educational requirements, they have access to the Victorian Property Fund and they are dealing with an expert who will maximise their sale outcome.
“The REIV is calling on governments to reject the deregulation of farm sales, reject the current proposal for national licensing and go back to the drawing board,” Mr Booth concluded.