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Five reasons why NSW Fair Trading is the wrong place for property services
19 November 2018
It’s no secret REINSW and other industry bodies and representatives believe NSW Fair Trading is the wrong place for the property services industry.
But rather than telling you that you should agree, we’ll provide you with the facts and you can make up your own mind.
Fair Trading has legislative and regulatory oversight of more than 40 different trades and services, ranging from tattoo parlour operators, funeral directors, charitable fundraisers, work health and safety, tow truck drivers and hairdressers.
The department is too broad and generalised with most consumer protections focused on small dollar value and high-volume transactions. Homebuyers – making transactions valued at hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars – require better and more specialised protections than those buying toasters or getting a haircut.
The property services industries – in particular, real estate – have more legislation regulating behaviour than the other industries under NSW Fair Trading’s purview combined. The department is stretched, and unable and unwilling to provide new legislation training or consistently regulate its largest stakeholder group.
NSW Fair Trading has a history of removing licensing requirements in the real estate sector in the name of competition, and then reinstating the legislation when its removal is proven to be a disaster. By way of example, NSW Fair Trading removed the need for auctioneers to be licensed in 1993. This decision was reversed in 2002 yet was proposed again (and rejected) in 2018.
The positioning of property services within Fair Trading plays to the fragmentation of housing policy and planning in NSW.
The depth and breadth of specialty legislation relating to property services warrants a Commissioner with appropriate industry experience and expertise to deliver better outcomes for both consumers and the businesses that operate in the sector.
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