Authority investigating dodgy real estate agents

  • 11/08/2015

By Kim Vinnell

The real estate industry regulator says it's investigating after TV3's Story went undercover to reveal real estate agents duping customers.

Half of the agents filmed offered to help property investors buy cheaply so properties could be resold quickly - and the commission be gained twice.

An actor for Story posed as a property developer and revealed agents who could be short changing their vendors for the commission.

Real estate agent and coach Ian Keightley says it's a disgrace.

There are already regulators governing the real estate industry.

There's the Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA) - that's the independent government regulator, but it can't investigate anything unless there's a complaint.

There's also the Real Estate Institute - which is an industry body - and which says it offers all its agents ongoing training. Even so, there are still calls for more transparency.

REAA chief executive Kevin Lampen-Smith says the authority has the power to cancel licences, give fines, or training.

One agency capitalising on the industry's murky reputation is Tall Poppy.

With ambassador former Silver Fern Irene Van Dyk it - like some other small agencies - competes with flat fees.

"It happens in every industry, the key is to increase standards and that's a fundamental of what we do, says founding member Sam McIntyre.

The real estate agencies in question are conducting their own investigations, while the entire industry comes under scrutiny.

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