What is the Real Estate Authority?
The Real Estate Authority (REA), formerly the Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA) is a Crown entity, governed by a board that administers the Real Estate Agents Act 2008.
The authority was established to provide greater protection for all real estate consumers by introducing rules, policies, procedures and accountability for real estate agents.
It runs a public register of all licensed real estate agents and companies operating in New Zealand.
The REA is responsible for licensing real estate agents and for managing the licences.
The authority also makes freely available downloads for various parts of the real estate process.
The REA sets the standards for real estate services and has produced the real estate professional conduct and client care rules.
Complaints made by consumers
The Real Estate Authority officially records, responds to and deals with complaints about practice or behaviour of agencies or agents.
It publicly records complaints and decisions made.
Complaints are referred to the REA Complaints Assessment Committee for a hearing and also to the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal.
The REA Complaints Assessment Committee can censure or reprimand licensees, order refunds or costs and demand further training and supervision.
The Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal, a service of the Ministry of Justice, deals with licensing and disciplining matters relating to conduct. It has the authority to cancel or suspend agent licenses.
It has jurisdiction over agents licensed under the Real Estate Agents Act 2008 and deals with the more serious cases.
Decisions made by the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal are publicly available online.
There have been over 2000 complaints made to the Real Estate Authority over the last three years. Click here for how the complaint process works.
Standard of behaviour and rules for information
The REA provides free consumer information and advice for buyers and sellers ranging from Signing a Listing Agreement to Signing a Sale and Purchase Agreement and everything in between.
A recently introduced rule to increase consumer protection requires agents to advise clients to seek legal advice prior to signing either of these documents.
The authority sets the code of conduct for agents including such things as disclosing conflicts of interest and holding deposits in trust accounts.
Conflicts of interest is an issue that gets raised in complaints made to the authority and usually involves non-disclosure. The REA has introduced rules to improve this standard of practice.
New rules about commission fees
Recently, two new clauses have been introduced by the Real Estate Authority to provide better protection regarding commission fees.
These clauses, one for rural and one for residential, prevent consumers from being liable for paying two commissions if the property was listed for sale twice.
The authority has developed a database of all real estate companies which have committed to notifying sellers about these clauses.
All agencies are being encouraged to join the register.
If you are considering employing a real estate company, make sure you check it is on the register. It has been established to protect you, the consumer.
The register was a response to the number of complaints the REA was receiving about vendors having to pay double commissions.
If you just don't have time to do this, you can get help finding vetted real estate agents here.
You might also like:
- Free legal and consumer advice websites
- Checklist to use before signing an agency agreement
- Real estate agents must be licensed