Estate agents

The Business Licensing Authority (BLA) (see “Contacts”) deals with disputes involving estate agents. The BLA provides advice and handles consumer complaints. The service is free.

If the BLA believes that an 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 fine the agent or require undertakings from the agent. Agents can appear at the tribunal without a lawyer, although most are represented. The tribunal cannot order that an agent’s 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.

Solicitors and conveyancers

Complaints about solicitors are handled under the Legal Profession Uniform Law 2014 (Vic). The legal profession is regulated by a commissioner. (For more information, see Legal representation.) Complaints against licensed conveyancers are handled by the BLA and can end up in VCAT.