New underquoting laws to be introduced this week

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Real estate agents could soon face tougher penalties for underquoting with new laws aimed at stopping the practice to be introduced to parliament this week.

Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello, who will table the reforms to the Reforms to the Property Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 in parliament this week, said the reforms were a long time coming.

“The NSW Government is overhauling the current laws to strengthen consumer protection,” Dominello said.

“Underquoting is illegal and misleads potential buyers looking for their dream home.

“There have been no successful prosecutions made under the current Act in over 13 years – this reform is long overdue.”

The reforms include harsher penalties and will also require agents to change how they market properties.

In addition to the current penalty of $22,000, agents found guilty of underquoting will also have to forfeit any commission or fees from the sale.

Agents will be required to provide evidence of their estimated selling price to the vendor and this estimate must be stated in the agency agreement and when marketing a property agents will only be allowed to use that price.

If a price is quoted in any advertisement or representations about the likely selling price of the property, this amount must be the estimated selling price stated in the agency agreement and advertisements and representations that say “offers over” or “offers above” or any similar statement will be prohibited.

Agents will be required to keep a register of prices quoted on a property whether these are provided to the vendor or prospective purchasers.

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