23/11/2004 - 21:00

Bunbury agency move highlights the role of ethics in real estate

23/11/2004 - 21:00

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The State’s principal real estate statutory body has reaffirmed its support for the industry’s current regulatory system after a Bunbury-based agency gained accreditation under a new, private system advocating ethics in real estate.

The State’s principal real estate statutory body has reaffirmed its support for the industry’s current regulatory system after a  Bunbury-based agency  gained accreditation under a new, private system advocating ethics in real estate.

Gard and Associates is the first agency in Western Australia to gain accreditation under the Jenman system, developed by Sydney-based real estate agent Neil Jenman.

Gard and Associates principal Jason Gard said the Jenman system was essentially a consumer advocacy platform.

He said the system was a positive next step for his business, and a way for the public to identify agents that had studied ethics.

“The current regulatory system is ok, but the problem is that if a complaint is made, consumers won’t get their money back,” Mr Gard said.

“If there is a dispute, Jenman provides an approved board to examine the circumstances and if the agent is found at fault they have no recourse for appeal and must accept the decision of the board.

“Consumers can’t necessarily get protection from the current regulatory bodies, and if the industry does not impose its own form of self regulation it is only a matter of time before government imposes its own regulator.

“My perspective has absolutely changed since under-going the training. To gain accreditation, our staff commenced training in 1998.”

Those involved in the regulation of real estate agents said the current regulatory system for agents was sufficient, however, and that no further regulation was needed.

Real estate agents are currently required to comply with a code of conduct, which is enforced by the Real Estate and Business Agents Supervisory Board (REBA), a statutory body established in 1978 to regulate those who conduct real estate and certain business transactions.

Chairperson of the REBA board, Judy Eckert, said most agents generally did the right thing and earnestly tried to keep the profession reputable.

“The regulatory system in WA is very strong and works so well because it is enforced often,” Ms Eckert said.

“Any individual who sets up a private accreditation system has to create some claim to make consumers think they are getting something special.”

Real Estate Institute of Western Australia CEO Anne Arnold also supported the current system of review. She said agents were bound by the code of conduct, and apart from a few notable exceptions, most complied.

“The code should guide agents’ behaviour and is enforced by a disciplinary tribunal,” she said.

“WA consumers are very well looked after without needing extra protection.

“The Jenman system is essentially a marketing tool, and we feel that setting themselves up as the only ethical operator is unreasonable.

“There are internal processes at REIWA to make sure consumers can have their complaints heard by the independent board.”

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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