Following months of lobbying, NSW Labor has announced it will move property-related matters from Fair Trading to a new property-focused government agency, should it come to power in the state election in late March.
The Real Estate Institute of NSW have been an advocate for instating a property services commissioner following inaction from NSW Fair Trading for months. A letter from the Opposition has revealed a new policy change to put these powers under a “property-focused agency”.
Detailed in a letter written to REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin, shadow minister of innovation and better regulation Yasmin Catley wrote that the points raised by REINSW have merit.
“Labor believes there are synergies to improve the state government’s oversight of the industry, achieve economies of scale by placing property services within a property-focused agency, and improve the relationship between the property services industry and government.”
She wrote that the proposed reform would be accompanied by the NSW Building Authority, which would also be found in the new agency.
In response, REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin said that he supports the policy move, and that a property services commissioner would be able to provide support on legislation regarding residential, commercial, strata and rural property, as well as increasing education and standards in the property industry.
“Fair Trading’s regulatory competencies exist in the high-frequency, low-dollar value, minimal legal complexity transactions,” Mr McKibbin said.
“Property transactions by comparison are low-frequency, high-dollar value and by their very nature inherently complex.
“A regulatory authority seeking to adequately support the property industry must be well educated and experienced in the industry and be exclusively focused on it.”
He labelled the notion that the same government body that represents customers for toaster purchases and hair cuts should also handle property as “ludicrous”.
“A property transaction is a very serious undertaking, there is no room in the transaction for the ill-equipped, particularly the regulatory authority,” Mr McKibbin said.
“Consumers making home purchases in the hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars require specialist service providers and an experienced and competent regulatory authority that can maintain a regulatory environment for consumer protection.”