The Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 introduced a new approach to professionalism for property agents.
Agents are required to demonstrate their competency before being issued a licence or certificate. Agents also have to undertake continuing professional development each year to ensure they remain up-to-date and competent in the skills and knowledge needed to do their jobs.
To support this approach to competency and professionalism, a comprehensive set of rules of conduct has been introduced to provide agents with a guide to the professional and ethical standards expected by the public in respect of their dealings with agents.
Agents need to be acutely aware of the fiduciary nature of the relationship with their client (the principal). The relationship between principal and agent places an agent in a position of trust, confidence and responsibility in which their foremost duty is to act in the best interests of their client. Agents must always deal with their client free of the influence of any interest which may conflict with the client’s best interests.
This does not mean that agents can use unethical tactics in dealing with their clients’ customers (tenants and purchasers) to get the best deal for their client. Agents are expected to deal with both their clients and other customers competently, diligently and according to principles of fairness and honesty.
The rules of conduct are prescribed in the Property, Stock and Business Agents Regulation 2003. There are 19 core rules which apply to all licence and certificate holders, and additional specific rules which apply to the various categories of agency work. You can look at clause 11 and Schedules 1 to 6 of the Regulation, or click on the relevant link below to see all the rules of conduct applicable to a particular agency category.
A contravention of the rules of conduct by an agent constitutes a breach of the Regulations which can result in the issue of a Penalty Notice or disciplinary action being taken against the agent concerned.
The maximum penalty for a breach of the rules is $11,000.