The Business Licensing Authority (BLA) (see “Contacts”) deals with disputes between agents and their clients (buyers only). The BLA provides advice and handles consumer complaints. The service is free.
If the BLA believes that the agent has breached the Estate Agents Act 1980 (Vic) or its regulations, including the professional rules, it can refer the matter to the Disciplinary Tribunal. The tribunal considers whether the agent’s licence should be suspended or cancelled. The tribunal can also require undertakings from an agent or impose a fine. Agents can appear at the tribunal without a lawyer, although most are represented. The tribunal cannot order that a client be reimbursed for a loss caused by an agent’s unprofessional behaviour, but it can order compensation if the complaint concerned taking an excessive commission.
Complaints about lawyers are handled under the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 (Vic). The legal profession is regulated by a Legal Commissioner. (For more information, see Legal representation.)
Complaints against licensed conveyancers are handled by the Business Licensing Authority and can end up in VCAT.