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Review of Real Estate Agents Act Underway

Review of Real Estate Agents Act Underway

A first step towards a review of the Real Estate Agents Act (1976) was made today with the launch of a public discussion document requesting submissions on the current licensing of real estate agents and salespeople.

Associate Minister of Justice Rick Barker said the Renovating the Real Estate Agents Act - Reasonable Offers Considered discussion document contained background information on the current Act and asked whether the current form of occupational regulation of real estate agents required changing.

"The current Act is now over 25 years old and in that time the real estate industry has changed considerably. In addition, lawyers and conveyancers may soon be able to sell real estate, along with their other services, in competition with real estate agents."

Mr Barker said although occupational licensing appeared to be the most appropriate form of regulation, it was important to gauge public opinion on whether a change to the status quo was required.

"If occupational licensing for real estate agents remains, there may be parts of the current licensing that could be improved. Opinions on the effectiveness of the current Act and how it could be improved are therefore welcome."

Mr Barker said for most New Zealanders buying or selling a house was one of their most important transactions.

"A great deal of money is involved and it is important that people can proceed with enough information and have confidence in the services provided by real estate agents and salespeople.

"I hope that the wide distribution of this paper will enable members of the public to take the time to think about how the real estate industry should be regulated and consumers protected."

Approximately 90 percent of all residential properties in New Zealand are sold through real estate agents and over $29 billion of residential, rural and lifestyle property was sold in 2002. Real estate agents also handled approximately $623 million of rent for landlords.

Submissions on the Ministry of Justice discussion paper close on 15 September.

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