Real estate agents will be subject to stricter requirements under new laws introduced by the ACT Government.
Minister for Consumer Affairs Shane Rattenbury said tightening licensing requirements for real estate agents was intended to better improve protection for renters and potential homeowners.
Under the Fair Trading and Other Justice Legislation Amendment Bill, estate agents will not be able to run their own agency until they have additional experience and have completed training.
The Bill also divides agent licences into two classes, so those who act as licensees-in-charge of a place of business must undertake extra qualifications and have at least two years of industry experience.
Other amendments introduce a specific licence for land auctioneers and make it an offence for anyone not holding a land auctioneer’s licence to conduct land auctions and introduce new offences to prevent assistant agents from withdrawing trust money or entering into agency agreements
It also phases out the unqualified salesperson registration pathway to ensure all industry participants hold a minimum level of qualifications.
Mr Rattenbury said the reforms were particularly important given the tight local property market.
“It is increasingly important that the sector is appropriately regulated, and those employed in the real estate industry have the proper training for the tasks they perform,” he said.
“With these reforms, home buyers, sellers and renters will have fresh confidence that local real estate professionals have the necessary knowledge and skills to carry out their legal and professional duties.”
The proposed reforms support the implementation of the National Real Estate Training Package which began in 2018 and bring the ACT in line with other states and territories.
REIA ACT CEO Michelle Tynan said the rule change was not reflective of a lack of education on the part of the ACT’s current real estate agents.
“The actual education standard for real estate agents in the ACT is really high,” she said. “They have to do continuous professional development every year to renew their licence or registration.”
Ms Tynan said the changes were about ensuring a clearer pathway through the accreditation process.
“Until now, the ACT has been seen as a kind of back door where you can get accredited as a licensee-in-charge without actually having worked in the industry,” she said.
“That was where our consumer concern was.”
She said the reforms were about ensuring those at the early stage of their real estate career work through a stepped process and gain enough experience at each stage of their journey.