Regulatory and Enforcement Framework
This Guide outlines the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA)’s regulatory and enforcement framework for property agencies and agents. This framework helps safeguard consumers’ interests and ensures that the real estate agency industry upholds high professional standards in their performance of estate agency work.
CEA’s regulatory and enforcement framework is guided by the following principles:
- Uphold professional standards in the real estate agency industry through robust enforcement actions against offences and disciplinary breaches.
- Safeguard property consumers’ interests and enhance public trust in the reputation and integrity of the industry.
- Administer fair and just outcomes through a calibrated approach towards enforcement and disciplinary actions, taking into account all relevant facts and circumstances, and ensuring commensurability with the severity of the misconduct.
CEA’s regulatory framework is based on the Estate Agents Act (EAA) and its subsidiary legislation, including the Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care (CEPCC) and the Code of Practice for Estate Agents (COPEA).
Upon receipt of a complaint about a property agent or agency, CEA assesses the merits of the case and determines whether it should conduct an investigation or refer it to the property agency for service recovery. If the complaint is substantiated, CEA will take enforcement action against the errant property agent or agency.
Key Enforcement Statistics
The following table highlights the information/statistics relating to CEA's investigation outcome and enforcement action taken against property agencies and agents.
||1 Jan 2021 to 31 Dec 2021
Letter of Advice/Warning Served
Refers to cases where the offence is assessed to be less serious, and a warning letter was issuedas a warning to offenders who have committed ethical breaches or criminal offences under the EAA and its subsidiary legislation.
Disciplinary Committee (DC) action
Refers to cases heard before the CEA Disciplinary Committee.
The DC can revoke, suspend, attach new conditions or vary any existing condition attached to the registration or licence of a RES or EA respectively and/or impose a financial penalty of up to $100,000 for RESs and $200,000 for EAs per case. The DC may also admonish or reprimand the RES or EA in writing.
Refers to cases heard before the Court.
The Court may convict and impose a fine and/or imprisonment on offenders who committed an offence under the EAA or its subsidiary legislation, up to the maximum prescribed statutory limit for the offence.
Enforcement actions against offences
Certain types of misconduct are legislated as statutory offences under the EAA or its subsidiary legislation. They are more serious in nature and hence criminalised as an offence when an individual or entity engages in such misconduct. CEA may initiate Court prosecution if the circumstances are serious and warrant prosecution.
Enforcement actions against disciplinary breaches
CEA will take the appropriate enforcement actions based on the outcome of its investigations into potential disciplinary breaches, taking into account the severity of the misconduct; the number of disciplinary breaches or offences previously committed; and the facts and circumstances of the case. Enforcement actions include CEA Disciplinary Committee (DC) proceedings, Letters of Censure (LOC), and other administrative actions.
Other relevant information
Read more about the scheduled and ad-hoc inspections on property agencies that CEA conducts to ensure compliance with the EAA and its subsidiary legislation. Find out more about CEA’s sentencing approach as well as the fit and proper criterion to perform estate agency work.
Click here (PDF, 588KB) to download the complete Regulatory and Enforcement Guide.