Consumer Affairs Victoria is monitoring the real estate industry for signs of underquoting, as Victoria reopens and property sales ramp up.
Property prices have climbed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s more important than ever that buyers, sellers and agents understand the obligations that come with selling property.
Consumer Affairs Victoria has issued more than $300,000 worth of infringement notices for breaches of the state’s underquoting laws since May this year.
Victoria’s underquoting laws require agents to fulfil specific requirements related to advertising and promoting the properties they sell. Providing the transparency required by the laws helps to ensure that home buyers don’t spend significant time and money chasing properties outside their price range.
Under the laws, agents must not advertise a property 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.
They must also provide a Statement of Information, which helps prospective buyers make informed decisions about the property.
In May 2021, Consumer Affairs Victoria inspectors made unannounced visits to 29 metropolitan and regional estate agents’ offices to monitor their compliance with underquoting laws.
This is in addition to year-round compliance activity, which includes auction monitoring, inspections, and investigating where necessary.
Agents who do the wrong thing face penalties of more than $33,000 and the loss of sales commissions.
Agents can also face penalties under the Australian Consumer Law of up to $10 million for corporations and $500,000 for individuals.
For more information, view Understanding underquoting.