Real estate agents

The next steps to take if you are unable to resolve an issue with a real estate agent.

Who do I go to?

Real Estate Authority (REA)(external link) for complaints about the conduct of licensed real estate agents and licensed salespeople (licensees).

The District Court(external link) OR Disputes Tribunal(external link) to claim because of a breach of your rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act or the Fair Trading Act.

What kind of problems do they handle?

REA considers two types of complaint:

Unsatisfactory conduct

The licensee’s conduct:

  • falls below the standard that a reasonable person is entitled to expect from a reasonably competent licensee
  • breaches the Real Estate Agent Act (REA Act) and any regulations or rules under it
  • is incompetent or negligent
  • would reasonably be regarded by a licensee of good standing as being unacceptable.

Misconduct

The licensee’s conduct:

  • would reasonably be regarded by a licensee of good standing or a reasonable person as being disgraceful
  • is seriously negligent or incompetent
  • is a wilful or reckless breach of the REA Act and any other laws
  • amounts to a criminal offence for which he or she is convicted, that would adversely affect their fitness to be a licensee.

What do I need to do?

  1. You can make a complaint directly to the real estate agent’s firm and use their internal complaints procedure.
  2. You can go directly to the REA first if you wish. You can also contact them if you’re unhappy with the outcome of the internal complaints process. They will investigate your complaint and suggest a range of options including:
    1. sending a compliance advice letter to the agent
    2. mediation
    3. if mediation is not successful, sending your complaint to a Complaints Assessment Committee (CAC).
  3. If the Committee decides your agent has engaged in misconduct, it can lay misconduct charge with the Real Estate Agent’s Disciplinary Tribunal(external link).

What else do I need to consider?

Using the REA complaints process is free.

For unsatisfactory conduct complaints, the REA Complaints Assessment Committee can order the real estate agent to:

  • apologise to you
  • reduce, cancel or refund any fees you paid or were charged
  • fix any error or omission at his or her own expense
  • pay your costs and expenses from the CAC hearing.

For more serious misconduct complaints, the REA can award compensation up to $100,000 for your loss suffered from the real estate agent’s misconduct.  

Where can I get more information?

Real Estate Authority  

Provides information on standards of service and professionalism in addition to information on how to make a complaint.

Visit the website(external link)
Phone: 0800 367-7322

Real Estate Agent’s Disciplinary Tribunal

Information from the Ministry of Justice on the role of the tribunal in complaints against real estate agents.

Visit the website(external link)
Phone: (04) 462 6660