‘Dedicated task force’ to crack down on understatement in Victoria

‘Dedicated task force’ to crack down on understatement in Victoria

Citing saving time and money for Victoria residents, the state government revealed a $3.8 million blitz on the understatement.

“At a time when every dollar counts for households, the dedicated task force will immediately begin working with a blitz to ensure real estate prices are advertised fairly and honestly – to protect time and buyers’ money when they need it most,” read a statement from the Prime Minister. Daniel Andrews.

The new task force, which is part of Consumer Affairs Victoria, is expected to “strengthen the monitoring of sales campaigns, the collection and analysis of market information such as complaints from the public and conduct targeted inspections to seize documents and data to ensure compliance with undercutting laws”. .

The $3.8 million funding injection comes on top of Consumer Affairs Victoria’s current undercutting compliance activities – which include auction monitoring, inspections and investigations – and will all fall under the mandate of the new work group.

The task force would also draw on the efforts of existing and additional officers with a variety of skills and backgrounds, including inspectors, investigators, information analysts and legal officers.

Consumer, Gaming and Alcohol Regulation Minister Melissa Horne said a dedicated task force “sends a strong message and will ensure those who do the wrong thing are held accountable”.

She said the state government is cracking down on understatements “because it’s not only unfair and wastes time and money for house hunters at a time when every dollar is running out — it’s is also illegal.

“Buying a property is one of the most important decisions people make and they deserve honest prices to make informed decisions about how they spend their money,” she continued.

The state government’s latest move follows numerous unannounced visits to real estate agencies across the state in May 2021 to monitor compliance with underlisting laws.

Shortly after, Consumer Affairs Victoria announced that it was closely monitoring the state’s real estate sector for signs of undervaluation.

Since 2015, Consumer Affairs Victoria has taken legal action and accepted binding undertakings from 13 estate agencies over underselling, resulting in over $3 million in fines and legal costs for perpetrators.

With the recent Victoria property market review identifying undervaluation as a major concern, the government said it was now reviewing the findings of the review in line with changing market conditions and indicated that it ” would soon have more to say about this work”.

Earlier this year, the equivalent NSW Special Task Force revealed it had issued fines worth $250,000 to agents and companies for under-reporting.

‘Dedicated task force’ to crack down on understatement in Victoria

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Last update: September 14, 2022

Posted: September 15, 2022

Grace Ormsby

Grace Ormsby

Grace is a reporter for real estate and investment brands Momentum. Grace joined Momentum Media in 2018, bringing with her a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) from Newcastle University. She is passionate about providing easy-to-digest, relevant information and content for her key audiences and stakeholders.

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