REIA President Adrian Kelly has addressed the comments made by Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and his concerns over the actions of some real estate agents.
Mr Kelly’s comments come in response to Friday’s letter from ASIC to the real estate institutes in each state outlining concerns about some real estate agents who are advising tenants to apply for early release of their superannuation.
“Firstly, I agree that estate agents providing financial advice to tenants is clearly illegal and the REIA doesn’t condone it,” said Mr Kelly.
“To condemn all agents because of the actions of a minority is akin to saying all union members are militant lawbreakers because of the actions of a few.
“I too have seen some less than acceptable behaviour from some agents in their communications with tenants. This heavy-handedness is irresponsible.
“Over the past three weeks, I and many others in our industry have been very public about looking after the needs of both our tenants and property owners, in particular, those who are experiencing financial hardship.
“We have always maintained that a moratorium on evictions during these challenging times is the correct thing to be doing because now more than ever everyone needs a roof over their heads.
“Our members are receiving telephone calls every five minutes from our tenants and property owners who have lost employment and we have been waiting nearly two weeks now for the State and Federal Governments to agree on a framework so that we can get on with our job.
“For the Labor Party to come out today slinging mud at our industry when they know full well that the vast majority of us are doing the best we can under very trying circumstances is irresponsible.
“Today is the time that quality leadership is required instead of cheap political point-scoring.
“I say thank you to the real estate industry for the positive work that you are doing under very trying circumstances.
“Some of you need to try harder, that’s obvious but if we all pull together and remain focussed on the needs of our tenants and property owners we will get through this.”
ASIC has advised that real estate agents should consider referring tenants to information available on the ASIC Moneysmart website. (www.moneysmart.gov.au).