A dedicated taskforce will target unfair practices in the property market, including underquoting, ensuring Victorians have fair and easier access to purchasing property.
At a time when households are struggling with cost-of-living pressures, the taskforce will work to ensure property prices are fairly and honestly advertised to protect buyers’ time and money when they need it most.
The new property market taskforce will begin work immediately with increased monitoring of sales campaigns, collection and analysis of market intelligence such as complaints from the public, and will conduct targeted inspections to seize documents and data to ensure compliance with underquoting laws.
The taskforce will focus on ensuring estate agents are complying with their obligations and are doing the right thing, while ensuring Victorians have the accurate pricing information they need while house hunting.
Backed by a $3.8 million investment, the Consumer Affairs Victoria taskforce will include existing and additional officers with a range of skills and experience including inspectors, investigators, information analysts, and legal officers.
The creation of the dedicated underquoting taskforce builds on significant regulatory activity undertaken in May 2021, where inspectors made unannounced visits to 29 metropolitan and regional estate agents’ offices to monitor their compliance with underquoting laws.
Underquoting is when a property is advertised at a price below the estimated selling price, the seller's asking price, or a price that has been rejected as too low by the seller.
Significant penalties, including fines of more than $36,000, apply for underquoting. Underquoting can also result in penalties under the Australian Consumer Law of up to $10 million for corporations and $500,000 for individuals.
Since 2015, Consumer Affairs Victoria has taken court action and accepted enforceable undertakings from 13 real estate agencies, with fines and court costs totalling more than $3 million.
Underquoting was identified as a key concern by the Victorian property market review, the findings of which are currently being considered by Government.
For more information about underquoting, visit our underquoting webpage.
If you suspect underquoting may have occurred, you can make a report to Consumer Affairs Victoria.