03.12.2018 at 21:59
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NSW Fair Trading And REINSW Still Trading Blows

The feud is beginning to look like it could turn into a real slugfest.

Last week, Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean stated for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) that the real estate industry absolutely cannot regulate itself.

"Real estate agents are among the least trusted professions in the state and every month we can see why, with regular cases of fraud, underquoting and other compliance issues.

"There are many good and honest real estate agents, but the bad apples are ruining it for everyone else.

"We want a strong real estate sector, but that won't happen if we put agents in charge of regulating themselves.

"If the public doesn't trust the industry to comply with the law, how can it trust the industry to enforce it?

"People don't commit trust account fraud because they think it's legal. They do it because greed gets the better of them."

A round-up of non-compliant Sydney agents occurred just as OFT's professionalism and competence were being called into question.

However, this completely ignores the earlier public announcement by Tim McKibben of the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW), that they are not calling for self-regulation.

Rather, they want a separate Property Services Minister.

Earlier last week, REINSW CEO Tim McKibben said OFT was wrong to characterise them as seeking self-regulation. Instead, they want better regulation.

After REINSW had called for an inquiry into OFT's decision-making process, Mr McKibben clarified:

"Let’s once again be crystal clear - the industry does not seek self-regulation, the industry seeks a cooperative and constructive relationship with a regulatory authority who has competencies and experience in the property industry."

Mr McKibben said OFT is used to regulating small-margin, high-volume markets such as retail, and did not have the expertise to oversee small-volume, high-value markets like real estate.

"Attempting to assign blame to the industry while a pandemic of incompetence flushes at Fair Trading strongly suggests that Government is not acting like a model citizen.

"The first step to resolving any problem is an acknowledgement of, and a detailed understanding of the issues. Pretending it doesn’t exist and blaming others, only delays implementation of the requisite remedial activities. REINSW respectively suggests that in this case, the sunshine is the best disinfectant.  

"Accordingly, publicly exposing the systemic failure of Fair Trading’s ability to understand and adequately support the property services industry is an important step forward.  Misplaced confidence and ignorance are a dangerous combination and a recipe for harm as in this case."

In its latest maneuver, on the same day Mr Kean made his statement, REINSW announced on their website that they are launching a petition for the creation of a new Property Minister.

Their petition seeks at least 10,000 signatures from the public and the real estate community, to put some leverage behind their request for the new ministerial position.

According to their website:

"Residential real estate contributes $107 billion to the NSW economy annually and more than $8.4 billion to the economy through stamp duty. However, NSW 'boasts' the most expensive real estate in Australia with government legislation and red tape adding more than 40 per cent of the cost of a new home.

"Residential real estate is a high value, low volume, high risk investment that requires better levels of education and professionalism than Fair Trading can mandate.

“Creating a Property Services Commissioner will provide a consistent strategy to address housing affordability in NSW. It will provide a consistent strategy and framework to deliver better quality planning outcomes."

If anyone is interested in signing or even just seeing the petition, it can be found here.

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