Of great concern to REINSW is the proposal to remove real estate auctioneer licences.
Unfortunately, this is not the Government’s first attempt at this.
Under the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1993 (NSW), the Property and Stock Agents Act 1941 (NSW) was amended to remove the need for auctioneers to hold a licence to trade.
Not surprisingly, de-licensing auctioneers led to many issues. On 1 September 2003, the Property and Stock Agents (Auctioneers Qualifications) Order commenced, reintroducing licensing requirements for auctioneers.
“Considering the Government’s previous failure with de-licensing auctioneers and the time and resources invested in reintroducing the licensing requirements, I’m perplexed as to why they think it’s a good idea to go down the same path again,” says McKibbin.
“Before the Government starts ‘solving problems’ by de-licensing a service provider, it should determine whether there is actually a problem to solve.”
Training reforms will damage the credibility of the profession
Education and awareness of an auctioneer’s obligations help prevent non-compliant activity that may expose the vendor to legal action or damages. It also equips auctioneers with the skills and knowledge to identify and address issues, such as dummy bidding and collusive practices.
“De-licensing auctioneers is counterproductive to REINSW and industry efforts to improve compliance, transparency, accountability and professional conduct in the real estate sector,” says McKibbin.
“It will undermine REINSW’s push towards improving education standards and professionalism of the industry.”
Obligations of auctioneers
The legal obligations and responsibilities of auctioneers are referred to in the Property and Stock Agents Act 2002 (NSW) (PSBA Act) and the Property and Stock Agents Regulation 2014 (NSW).
The proposed changes suggest transferring the obligation for auction compliance from the auctioneer to the agent.
Clarence White, and experienced real estate auctioneer believes this will result in non-compliant auctions and consumer dissatisfaction.
“Many selling agents don’t know or understand the obligations of an auctioneer outlined in the PSBA Act. Or what an auctioneer can and can’t do, and their limitations,” he says.
“It is my practical experience that it is nearly always the auctioneer advising the agent regarding compliance on auction day, not the other way around.
“The proposed changes are a recipe for disaster. If the Government thinks all selling agents across the industry are well versed in auction day compliance, respectfully, they are mistaken. Some are, many aren’t.”
This raises the question, in a de-licensed environment, who is responsible for conducting a compliant auction and who is responsible when issues arise?
Consumers will suffer
REINSW opposes de-licensing within any area of the property services profession.
In a de-licensed environment, there is no requirement for probity checks of service providers and no training or ongoing skills assessment.
Without the requisite competencies, knowledge and skills required to deliver service, consumers will be exposed to significant risks and the industry and profession will sustain irreversible damage.
“The proposed de-licensing is likely to severely impact the quality of services offered to the consumer,” says McKibbin.
“This will lead to an increase in non-compliant and non-binding sales that consumers are left to deal with.
“The purpose of licensing laws is to ensure auctioneers deliver their services in a competently and regulatory compliant manner. The proposed de-licensing is a reckless proposition that threatens the protection consumers currently enjoy.
“This is yet a further example of the bureaucrats at NSW Fair Trading – who have absolutely no skills or experience with the property services industry – making stupid decisions. Once again, REINSW is called upon to rescue the consumer from NSW Fair Trading.”