Consumers now have greater certainty about property prices with stronger underquoting laws coming into effect today.
Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello said the new laws protect consumers and fulfil an election commitment.
“Buying a property is one of the most important and expensive purchases an individual or couple will ever make,” he said.
“Underquoting is illegal and misleads potential buyers looking for their dream home.
“There had been no successful prosecutions related to underquoting made under the previous Act in 13 years, so these new laws are long overdue.”
Some of the amendments to the Property Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 include:
- An agent cannot state or publish a price for a property that is less than their reasonable estimate of the property’s likely selling price contained in the agency agreement with the seller;
- Estimated selling price can be a single figure or a price range. If a price range is used, the highest price must not be more than 10 per cent higher than the lowest price;
- Advertisements and representations that say “offers over” or “offers above” or any similar statement are prohibited.
In addition to the existing penalty of $22,000, agents found guilty of underquoting will now be liable to forfeiture of any commission or fees from the sale.
The new laws are supported by the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales, the Estate Agents Co-operative and the Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association.
Further information on the new laws is available at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au.