Criteria you must meet to work in real estate

Before you can get a licence to work in real estate, you need to meet certain criteria.


You need to:
  • be 18 years of age or older
  • be able to demonstrate that you are honest
  • be a fit and proper person
  • have the right qualifications and experience.
You cannot get a licence if you:
  • have had a real estate licence cancelled
  • have any other prohibitions
  • are a lawyer or conveyancer.


When you apply for or renew your real estate licence, you must consent to a criminal history check. This lets us ask New Zealand Police for any information about you that could affect your eligibility to work in real estate. 

You can’t have a real estate licence if:
  • you’ve been convicted of any crime involving dishonesty in the past 10 years
  • you’re an officer of a company (or other corporate entity or partnership) where someone in management has been disqualified from being licensed because they’ve been convicted of a crime involving dishonesty in the past 10 years
  • you’ve been convicted of an offence under sections 14, 17—22 or 24 of the Fair Trading Act 1986 in the last 5 years.

Read the Fair Trading Act 1986.

Be a fit and proper person

Being a fit and proper person means meeting a certain standard of conduct and character. It's up to you to satisfy the REA Registrar that you are fit and proper. When applying for a new licence, you should tell us about:

  • any criminal convictions that haven’t been ‘clean slated’ (wiped from your record or legally withheld from us) — this includes driving-related offences
  • any pending criminal charges
  • any unsatisfied judgments in court
  • any adverse findings against you by a court in civil proceedings
  • any significant financial issues, such as bankruptcy
  • disciplinary action taken against you by another regulatory or professional body.

When applying to renew your licence, you should tell us if any of the above have occurred since the last time your licence was approved.

When you can’t have a real estate licence

  • You have some restrictions

    Examples of restrictions:

    • You’ve been subject to an overseas order in the last 5 years that means you can’t act as an agent, branch manager or salesperson (or equivalent) unless we agree that you’re a fit and proper person.
    • You’re prohibited from directing, promoting or managing an incorporated body under the Companies Act 1993, the Securities Markets Act 1988 or the Takeovers Act 1993.
    • Your real estate licence has been cancelled within the last 5 years.
    • Your licence is currently suspended.
    • You’ve been disqualified from holding a licence.
  • You’ve been made bankrupt

    If you’re an undischarged bankrupt or are subject to Part 5 Subpart 4 of the Insolvency Act 2006, you can’t hold an agent’s licence but you can hold a branch manager’s or salesperson’s licence.

    Read the Insolvency Act 2006 here(external link).

Qualifications and experience

The qualifications and levels of experience required depend on the type of licence.

Read more about the qualifications you need to work in real estate here.

Visa holders

REA doesn’t give advice about visa restrictions that apply to training or employment in New Zealand.

If you are in New Zealand on a visa and you want to become licensed, you will need to contact an approved education organisation and ask if you can enrol with them. We recommend you also contact Immigration New Zealand to ensure your visa entitles you to work in New Zealand.

View the education organisations that offer training for real estate qualifications here.

Lawyers and conveyancers

Lawyers and conveyancers can carry out real estate work without a real estate licence. However, lawyers cannot hold both a real estate licence and a legal practising certificate.

Refer to section 7 of the Real Estate Agents Act 2008.

For more information

Section 37 of the Real Estate Agents Act 2008 has more detail about who’s prohibited from holding a real estate licence. You can read it here.


Contact us if you have questions about the criteria for working in real estate.

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