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Real estate industry welcomes bill – flaws remain

Real estate industry welcomes bill – but flaws remain

4 December 2007

The Real Estate Institute has welcomed the introduction of legislation to update the regulatory framework governing the industry but says the new bill leaves some important issues unaddressed.

“The Act we are now working under is more than 30 years old and we have been pressing for some time to have it brought up to date,” National President Murray Cleland said.

“We support those changes in the Bill which we consider will deliver stronger protections and a better service to the consumer. Examples include the creation of an independent authority to deal with complaints and discipline and the requirement that agents and salespeople undergo continuing professional development.

“However we are deeply disappointed that Associate Justice Minister Clayton Cosgrove has elected not to extend the new regime to letting and property managers as we believe this will leave consumers needlessly exposed,” Mr Cleland said.

“The Minister’s claim that these people pose less risk to the public is simply not supported by the facts. One in every five complaints the Institute receives relates to these groups and they handle hundreds of millions of dollars through their trust accounts for tenants and landlords.

“The Bill does nothing to address the problems in these areas.”

Mr Cleland said the Minister had taken a highly political attitude toward the whole reform exercise, repeatedly using divisive and emotive language - “land sharks”, “rogue agents” etc. In fact, he had seemed consistently more intent on self-promotion than on promoting a considered debate.

“I note, for example, that he says in his statement today that he has “moved swiftly” to introduce these reforms but that depends very much where you look,” Mr Cleland said.

“The industry developed improved educational standards for salespeople and licensing qualifications for branch managers in June. Both have been approved by the NZQA but we have been unable to put them into effect as we have been waiting since July for the Minister to sign them off. Similarly with the industry’s Regional Disciplinary Committees which we were unable to convene because the Minister has refused to make the lay appointments since 2006.”

He said the Institute would continue to seek to strengthen the Bill through the select committee stages.

ENDS

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