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Agent safety obligations unfair and dangerous

12 March 2018

REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin has labelled fire safety obligations imposed on real estate agents as dangerous and unfair.

NSW Fair Trading say agents leasing apartments in multi-story residential buildings should ensure the buildings are safe by reviewing the external wall cladding and ensuring appropriate fire safety measures are in place.

However, Mr McKibbin raised his concern about the increasing number of responsibilities being put on agents outside of their traditional roles and core responsibilities.
He added: “This is yet another unfair obligation that Fair Trading has put on real estate agents. Agents have no training or expertise in this area, which raises the question if this is a system designed for consumer protection or to position someone to blame.”

The NSW Government has developed and began implementing a co-ordinated policy to address fire safety risks associated with external wall cladding.

It recommends that real estate agents should:

Find out if the building has aluminium cladding

Agents should review all design and construction documents to determine whether external wall cladding made of aluminium composite panels was used on the building.

Check that the annual fire safety statement for the building is up-to-date

Agents should ensure all fire safety maintenance measures have been addressed.

Ensure a fire safety professional has inspected any cladding


If aluminium composite panels have been used on the building, agents should check if a fire safety professional has:

  • reviewed and inspected the cladding - including the suitability of the type of material used and installation method
  • checked the overall fire safety of the building
  • provided an assessment of any steps required to maintain or improve the building’s fire safety.

What is the NSW Government doing? 


An inter-agency Fire Safety and External Wall Cladding Taskforce (the Taskforce) has been established and reforms are being undertaken to strengthen fire safety in residential buildings. 

The Taskforce have sent letters to the tenants and owners of potentially at-risk buildings advising them to contact their real estate agent, landlord, strata managing agent, building manager, property manager or maintenance manager.

It says they should ask for all documents relating to the design and construction of the building to be reviewed to determine whether external wall cladding made of aluminium composite panels was used. 

REINSW has made a Submission on the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Identification of Buildings with Combustible Cladding) Regulation 2017. Read it in full here.