25 March 2019

New government an opportunity for property reform

The REINSW congratulates Gladys Berejiklian on winning the NSW State election and calls on the new Government to deliver much needed property industry reform, initially moving property services out of NSW Fair Trading.

Tim McKibbin, CEO of REINSW, said consumers and the industry would be better served by a Property Commissioner who would take a solitary focused and wholistic view of real estate, planning and consumer protection legislation.

“Under NSW Fair Trading, the property services industry has suffered from a misguided policy of competition at any cost, which has lowered barriers of entry by reducing the education requirements to become an agent. This ill-conceived policy exposes consumers to identifiable and unnecessary risk,” Mr McKibbin said. 

“Real estate practice is not easy. Real estate agents manage high-value transactions of significant legal complexity that occur infrequently for most property owners – it’s a very stressful time. Despite the acknowledged complexity, under the standards set by NSW Fair Trading, it is possible to pretty much walk off the street and put yourself forward as an agent.”

Mr McKibbin said most property owners would be shocked to know that the education required by Fair Trading to become an agent, can be completed in four days. 

NSW Fair Trading squeezes the regulation of property services in amongst 40 other different trade and service providers which are all low-value, high-frequency transactions of minimal legal complexity. These range from tattoo parlours, second hand dealers, hairdressers and tow truck drivers. 

“Our homes are the most valuable and psychologically important assets many of us own. Property transactions demand well educated, experienced and dedicated specialist,” Mr McKibbin said.

“The industry similarly requires the support of a specialist Property Services Commissioner, who like the Legal Services Commissioner, has industry experience and expertise and can who work cooperatively with industry to raise industry standards, improve consumer protections, advise on property taxes and remove the red tape that plays such a large part in making property so unaffordable in NSW.”

Real estate is a $107 billion industry annually in NSW – bigger than mining, retail and tourism combined. 

Mr McKibbin urged the Gladys Berejiklian Government to take a positive step to improve the lives of NSW property owners and tenants.

“We’re seeking better regulation – not self-regulation – and higher standards for the property services industry. NSW Fair Trading does not have the industry skills and experience to support such a dynamic industry.

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