Dodgy real estate agents slapped with $1m in fines for underquoting property sale prices in Victoria

Dodgy real estate agents slapped with m in fines for underquoting property sale prices in Victoria

A crackdown on real estate agents caught underquoting on properties has netted more than $1m in fines in Victoria.

A state government taskforce was launched in September 2022 to stamp out agents who advertise a property for a price that’s less than the estimated value.

Underquoting includes when a house is listed for a price that has already been rejected by the seller or is less than the seller wants.

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Consumer affairs minister Gabrielle Williams on Monday confirmed 47 agents had been fined in the past 15 months, with a further 89 receiving an official warning.

More than $1m in fines have been handed out, up from $360,000 in 2021-2022.

“This taskforce sends a message to agents to follow the law and accurately represent the properties they sell,” Williams said.

“Inspectors are out at auctions and offices and will act against agents who are caught underquoting.

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“It’s illegal, it’s unfair and it won’t be tolerated.”

The taskforce uses reports from the public and other intelligence to identify agents who may be breaking the law.

It has tracked 1,051 sales campaigns, conducted 157 onsite inspections and attended 124 auctions to investigate suspected underquoting and collect evidence of breaches.

Any agent caught underquoting faces fines of more than $11,000 for each breach or penalties of almost $38,000 under the Estate Agents Act.

Higher penalties of $50m for corporations and $2.5m for individuals apply under the Australian Consumer Law for the most serious misconduct.