25 Nov 2012

NSW cracks down on dodgy real estate agents

10:48 am on 25 November 2012

Undercover officers from an Australian fair trading enforcement organisation have have blitzed auction sites in New South Wales as part of a crackdown on dodgy real estate agents.

NSW Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts says there are concerns some agents are operating without licences and engaging in deceptive behaviour.

A number of real estate agents have been prosecuted for helping themselves to trust account funds and others are under investigation, AAP reports.

There is also evidence some agents are undervaluing properties to buyers and overvaluing to sellers.

Undercover inspections were conducted at 44 auctions across three weekends in October and November, with six more auctions inspected on Saturday. Fair Trading officers will continue to visit auctions over the next 12 months.

Real estate businesses operating without a licence face fines of up to $A22,000, with $A11,000 fines for individuals trading without a licence.

Mr Roberts said 59 agents had been disqualified this year.

Thirty-three agents are being investigated for trust account issues.

Agents face up to 10 years in prison for accessing trust accounts.