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Real Estate Regulator Welcomes Proposed Changes to Tribunal

Real Estate Regulator Welcomes Proposed Changes to Tribunal Powers

Real estate agents who fail to perform professionally and correctly will face tougher consequences as a result of proposed changes to the current legal system.

The Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA), whose role is to promote and protect consumers and increase professionalism in New Zealand’s real estate industry, has welcomed the Tribunals Powers and Procedures Legislation Bill introduced to Parliament yesterday.

The Bill’s new provisions include giving the Real Estate Disciplinary Tribunal (READT) power to take stronger action and award compensation of up to $100,000 where a consumer has suffered loss due to a licensee’s unsatisfactory conduct. Under current legislation, compensation is only available if licensees are found guilty of the most serious charge of bringing the industry into disrepute (misconduct).

“We are aware that there are losses suffered by some consumers who don’t have the ability to seek appropriate redress,” REAA chief executive Kevin Lampen-Smith said.

“We are supportive of the proposed changes, though concerned that the process does not become too complicated.”

Lampen-Smith said the REAA intended to make submissions on the Bill during the Select Committee process.

“Currently, all of the power to award compensation is at Tribunal level. In addition to the READT, we will be advocating for the independent Complaint Assessment Committees to award compensation to consumers for loss up to a lesser threshold, similar to that of the Disputes Tribunal.”

Lampen-Smith said the proposed changes underscored the need for real estate agents to follow the rules.

“The expectation that real estate licensees should behave professionally and correctly has not changed; but the consequences of any wrongdoing will,” he said.

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