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Company urges board to 'scrutinise agents'

Luke Rawalai
Wednesday, November 01, 2017

THE Real Estate Agents Licensing Board (REALB) has a fundamental role in ensuring that only licensed agents operate in the real estate industry, says Ki Maren Real Estate director Aren Nunnink.

Speaking during the Real Estate Agents' National Consultation Workshop yesterday, Mr Nunnink said it was vital that all agents operated through some protocols.

He said the amount of agents operating illegally was "shocking", adding that the board needed to scrutinise agents.

"In fact, it is the REALB's initiative to have come up with the regulation and we welcome increased clarifications or regulation for the industry, but at the same time it should be done in a sensible fashion," he said.

"It should be done thoughtfully, not to hamper the industry but to provide more accountability and to provide greater integrity so that the public can have confidence when dealing with agents."

Mr Nunnink said there were certain aspects of the regulations that agents in Savusavu had raised, in particular certain requirements the proposed 2017 Real Estate Agency Regulation required of any agent.

"The draft requires agents to act in an almost quasi legal capacity to research, for instance, titles and to check the caveats and easements," he said.

Responding to these views, REALB acting chief executive officer Virisila Tuimanu said it was good to notice that agents were aware of their responsibilities.

"We don't think that surely an agent should provide an honest open disclosure, but an agent cannot be held ultimately responsible for legal dealings that may affect titles.

"The buyer needs to seek their own independent legal advice and we should not raise the bar too high.

"Certainly, the agent should not be misrepresenting the property and he or she should not be hiding anything.

"The way the regulations are currently drafted is putting an onus on the agent to establish all the aspects of the property and in some cases, vendors hide things from agents so to hold the agent accountable, is unacceptable."

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