In September 2008, Parliament passed the Real Estate Agents Act 2008 and it came into force in November 2009. It replaced the Real Estate Agents Act 1976. The Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal was established under the new Act.
Purpose of the Act
The main purpose of the Act is to:
protect consumers involved in real estate transactions and ensure that independent, quality, effective decisions are made in dealing with alleged breaches of conduct
promote the interests of consumers in real estate transactions
promote public confidence in the real estate industry.
Functions of the Tribunal
The Tribunal hears and determines disciplinary charges made against licensees. The charges are referred to it by a Complaints Assessment Committee (a Committee) of the Real Estate Agents Authority (the Authority).
The Tribunal also hears and determines applications for a real estate agent’s or agency’s licence to be suspended until the charges have been heard.
It also deals with appeals against a committee’s decisions and reviews the decisions of the Registrar not to grant or renew a real estate licence.
Powers of the tribunal
If the Tribunal finds a licensee guilty of misconduct it can make any of the following orders, and can also include any sanctions that could be ordered against a licensee found guilty of unsatisfactory conduct:
cancelling a licence
suspending a licence (for up to 24 months)
restricting supervisory functions
imposing penalties up to $15,000 for an individual and up to $30,000 for a company
awarding compensation of up to $100,000 to the complainant.
If the Tribunal finds a licensee guilty of unsatisfactory conduct, it can impose 1 or more of these orders:
censure or reprimand the licensee
order that agreed terms of settlement have effect as all or part of a final determination
apology by licensee to complainant
licensee to undergo training or education
reduce, cancel or refund fees
licensee to rectify error or omission at the licensee’s own expense or provide relief from the consequences of the error or omission
impose fines on licensee up to $20,000 (but limited to $10,000 where the licensee is an individual)
inspection of real estate practice
pay complainant costs or expenses incurred in respect of the inquiry, investigation or hearing by the committee.
The Tribunal provides an annual report to the Minister of Justice on the performance of the chairperson’s functions under the Act.