Estate Agents Act 1980 (review and inquiry)
This page provides general information and should not be considered as legal advice. Seek legal advice if you are unsure about your legal rights. Be aware that the law can change.
VCAT can review some decisions made by the Business Licensing Authority under the Estate Agents Act 1980.
Under this Act, we can also conduct inquiries into the conduct of estate agent licence holders and agent's representatives on application by the Director of Consumer Affairs or the Chief Commissioner of Police.
Cases we can hear
You may be able to apply to VCAT for a review if you are a person whose interests are affected by a reviewable decision of the Business Licensing Authority including to:
- grant or refuse a licence under section 21
- impose conditions that must be complied with before a licence is granted
- impose conditions or restrictions on a licence
- vary or revoke any conditions or restrictions under section 21A
- refuse to give, or impose conditions on any permission to a person to regain their licence after automatic cancellation, or be allowed a limited right to hold a licence, or hold a licence despite disqualifying factors under sections 31A, B, C, CA, D.
Only the Director of Consumer Affairs or the Chief Commissioner of Police may apply for VCAT to hold an inquiry.
The Act sets out specific reasons why disciplinary action may be taken. The Director or Chief Commissioner's application for inquiry will set out grounds of action.
For estate agents, the grounds will concern whether the estate agent:
- has contravened or failed to comply with the Estate Agents Act 1980 or the regulations or the Sale of Land Act 1962
- is of good character or is otherwise a fit and proper person to hold a licence
- has been guilty of conduct as an estate agent which renders him or her unfit to hold a licence
- improperly obtained, or is improperly holding a licence.
For directors or effective officers in control of a corporation and for members of a private corporate, in addition to the above, the grounds concern whether the director or officer in effective control:
- has failed to pay any fines he or she was required to pay or costs imposed on him or her under the Estate Agents Act 1980 or the Sale of Land Act 1962.
See section 25 of the Act for detail of the grounds.
For agent's representatives, the grounds concern whether the agent's representative:
- is eligible to be an agent's representative
- is of good character or is otherwise a fit and proper person to be an agent's representative
- has been guilty of conduct as an agent's representative which renders him or her unfit to be an agent's representative
- has contravened or failed to comply with the Estate Agents Act 1980 or the regulations; or the Sale of Land Act 1962.
If the inquiry is about your character or conduct you will be a party to the inquiry.
Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications
If you have a decision document, use it to help you complete the VCAT application form and attach a copy of the document to your application.
- Sections 25 and 28 of the Estate Agents Act 1980
You must make your application within 28 days from when:
- the decision was made, or
- if you have requested a statement of reasons under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act, the statement of reasons is given to you or you are informed that a statement of reasons will not be given.
You may be able to apply for an extension to this time limit.
There are no time limits for applications for inquiry.
What can VCAT order?
Unless the relevant Act of Parliament gives us different powers, VCAT can:
- affirm the original decision, in which case the original decision will stand
- vary the decision
- set aside the decision and substitute our own decision
- set aside the decision and remit (send back) the matter for reconsideration by the decision maker giving directions or recommendations
- invite the decision-maker to reconsider their decision at any time during the case.
If VCAT finds grounds of action proven, we may:
- impose requirements, conditions or limitations
- suspend or cancel a licence
- disqualify the person from holding a licence either permanently or for a specified period
- declare a person ineligible to hold a licence or be an agent's representative either permanently or temporarily
- require undertakings to be given
- may impose a penalty of up to $5000.
Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?
You do not need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you wish to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission. Be aware that the regulatory body in most cases uses legal representation.
Find legal services that may be able to assist you.
Need help with your application?
We can explain the application process and what the form is asking you for. Contact us to get support.
We cannot give you legal advice. This means we cannot tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.
Seek legal help if you are unsure about your options or need advice about your claim.
Access and privacy
VCAT hearings and files are usually public.
VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality.