The Victorian Government is introducing changes to the Estate Agents Act 1980 to strengthen underquoting laws in Victoria.
The new laws, which commence on 1 May, will require estate agents and agents' representatives to provide certain information about property prices to sellers and buyers.
From 1 May, estate agents and agents' representatives selling residential property in Victoria must:
- set an estimated selling price that is reasonable and takes into account the prices of the three most comparable property sales in the area
- consider the standard, condition and location of the property and the date of sale, when selecting the most comparable property sales
- inform the seller and update the sales authority if the estimated selling price changes
- give prospective buyers a Statement of Information about the price of the property for sale that includes:
- an indicative selling price. This cannot be less than the estimated selling price or the seller's asking price, or an amount already rejected by the seller
- details of the three most comparable property sales
- the median house or unit price for the suburb.
- advertise properties for sale with a single price or a price range of not more than 10 per cent
- not use qualifying words or symbols, such as 'from', 'offers above', or '+', when advertising a price or price range
- update advertising as soon as the seller rejects a higher written offer to buy the property.
Estate agents and agents' representatives found to be underquoting, risk a penalty of more than $31,000 (200 penalty units) and loss of their sales commission.
These changes will complement existing laws under the Australian Consumer Law that prohibit misleading and deceptive conduct by a business, such as making false and misleading representations about the sale price of a property.
The new laws will only apply to properties for which the seller signs a sales authority on or after May 1.
Consumer Affairs Victoria has recently taken action against estate agents who have engaged in underquoting. We will continue to monitor sales, conduct inspections and take enforcement action against Victorian estate agents or agencies that do not comply with the law.
To see our recent court actions and enforceable undertakings, view our News updates section.
For more information about underquoting and the new laws, view our Understanding underquoting page.