inspecting agents
Agents that engage in underquoting have been put on notice. Image – Canva.
  • 29 unannounced visits were made to estate agents offices last month
  • In Victoria, a Statement of Information (SOI) must be provided for each property

Consumer Affairs Victoria went on an underquoting blitz last month, making 29 unannounced visits to metropolitan and regional real estate agents offices to monitor compliance with underquoting laws.

In a statement, Consumer Affairs said it would take further action if any wrongdoing is identified based on information gathered from those inspections.

“We monitor the property market year-round and identify cases or agents to visit or investigate further based on factors such as advertising, sales data, and complaints from vendors, purchasers or the public.

“We have taken a number of court actions as well as issuing fines for underquoting where we have identified underquoting breaches in the past and will continue to do so where required.”

Consumer Affairs Victoria

Underquoting occurs when a property is advertised at price either below the estimated selling price, the seller’s asking price or a price that has already been rejected as too low by the seller.

Under Victorian law, estate agents must present a Statement of Information (SOI) for each property they are selling including an indicative selling price and the three most comparable property sales where applicable.

The SOI must be available in all internet advertising, during inspections and within two business days when requested. An indicative selling price must be updated if a written offer within the range is submitted and rejected as being too low.

Penalties for agents underquoting include more than $33,000 and the loss of sales commissions.

Additionally, under Australian Consumer Law, the maximum penalties can be up to $500,000 for individuals and $10,000,000 for corporations.

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