Consumers now have improved ability to seek compensation for unsatisfactory conduct by a real estate agent

30 October 2019

After 29 October 2019, consumers will be able to seek compensation, up to $100,000, for loss due to unsatisfactory conduct by a real estate agent through The Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal (Disciplinary Tribunal).

This change to the Real Estate Agents Act 2008 is intended to apply to conduct that occurs after 29 October, 2019. It improves consumer protection and access to compensation for financial loss.

The Real Estate Authority’s (REA) chief executive, Kevin Lampen-Smith says: “This change is important. Buying or selling a house is one of the biggest financial decisions New Zealanders ever make. It can be a complex and stressful process and, unfortunately, in rare circumstances things can go wrong. The introduction of compensation for unsatisfactory conduct will improve the ability for consumers to seek redress for losses suffered”.

Until now, the Disciplinary Tribunal, which is part of the Ministry of Justice, could only order compensation when a licensee was found guilty of the more serious finding of misconduct.

REA’s Complaints Assessment Committees will now be able to refer a case to the Disciplinary Tribunal to consider awarding compensation when a finding of unsatisfactory conduct has been made.

Unsatisfactory conduct that may be considered for compensation could be licensees not disclosing problems with a property or misleading advertising that causes a consumer to suffer loss.

Mr Lampen-Smith added that REA is pleased to report that the conduct of real estate agents continues to improve. A record low of 296 complaints were received in the last year and findings of unsatisfactory conduct have reduced by 35 per cent over the last three years to 102.

For more information, consumers can visit rea.govt.nz, email info@rea.govt.nz or phone 0800 367 732.

To speak to Kevin Lampen-Smith, contact REA media communications manager Amie Paston on 021 027 78271 or amie.paston@rea.govt.nz

ENDS