The Estate Agents (Professional Conduct) Regulations 2018 set out the standard of conduct expected of agents and agents' representatives in their day-to-day dealings with clients (sellers and landlords) and consumers (buyers and tenants).
They are in addition to the obligations set out under legislation such as the:
- Estate Agents Act 1980
- Sale of Land Act 1962
- Residential Tenancies Act 1997
- Retail Leases Act 2003
- Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012.
In summary, estate agents and agents’ representatives must:
- know the relevant laws
- follow their client’s lawful instructions, except if it would not be good estate agency practice
- act fairly, honestly, in good faith and to the best of their knowledge and ability at all times
- act in their client’s best interests, except if it would be unlawful, unreasonable, improper or against their client’s instructions
- disclose to their client any personal or commercial relationship they have with a supplier, if they recommend that supplier
- exercise skill, care and diligence in performing their functions
- complete all work for a client as soon as reasonably possible
- be timely and courteous in all dealings when carrying out their duties
- immediately inform a seller if, contrary to the contract, a deposit is not received for a sale
- promptly notify a landlord of any breach of a tenancy agreement, unless instructed otherwise by a landlord in writing
- make all reasonable enquiries to ascertain information relevant to a transaction
- provide all verbal and written offers to a client, unless instructed otherwise by a client in writing
- inform the person making an offer that it will not be submitted to the principal, if principal’s instructions to the agent are to not inform them of offers
- promptly respond to a tenant’s request for maintenance and repairs and notify the tenant of a landlord’s response
- inform the landlord if the landlord’s failure to carry out maintenance or repairs would constitute a breach of the agreement or the Residential Tenancies Act 1997
- when acting as a buyer’s agent keep the purchaser informed of each stage of the negotiations
- provide advice about the agency’s dispute resolution procedure before or as soon as possible after a tenancy agreement is signed
- minimise disputes with clients
- advise clients and consumers about the agency’ complaint and dispute resolution procedures.
In summary, estate agents and agents’ representatives must not:
- use or disclose confidential information they obtain while acting for a client, unless authorised by the client or required by law to do so
- induce a client to enter into an agency authority that may lead to commission being paid to more than one estate agent, without first giving them written advice of the possible consequences
- put their interests in conflict with those of their client by acting for another person
- accept commission from both a client and a consumer for the same transaction
- induce a person to breach any contract
- mislead a tenant, a prospective purchaser or a purchaser about a landlord's or seller's instructions
- engage in conduct that is unprofessional or detrimental to the estate agency industry
- convey bids made after a property has been knocked down at a public auction, unless a contract is not signed.
For information on the penalties for breaches, view Penalties - Estate agents.