| Real estate
agents face fines, expulsion
Real estate news By Victoria (REIV
February 27, 2007 08:36am
VICTORIAN real estate agents who take advantage of the state's
tight rental market face fines and possible expulsion from
their industry group. The Real Estate Institute of Victoria
(REIV) has released new guidelines that urge agents against
starting bidding wars over rental properties and advertising
a price range. The measures come as competition for rental
housing soars amid fears of a growing shortage in Melbourne.
Melbourne's rental vacancy rate is at a 20-year low at 1.7
per cent, compared to the optimum level of three per cent.
Under the guidelines, agents are required to set a realistic
price, not a rent range, and should not initiate a bidding
process for rental properties or consider counter offers
once a rental application has been approved. If agents flout
the guidelines, they could be fined or dumped from the REIV.
REIV chief executive Enzo Raimondo said the guidelines would
bring fairness and transparency to the rental market but
would not solve the issue.
He is calling on state and federal governments to address
the shortage of rental housing. "The 20-year low vacancy
rate has prospective tenants competing against each other
to secure accommodation," Mr Raimondo said. "The
REIV is conscious of the need for estate agents to deal
fairly and honestly with prospective tenants and to treat
them with courtesy, especially in the current tight residential
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