Regulatory changes in Victoria will permit unlicensed operators to engage in commercial property transactions under certain conditions, provoking the collective ire of accredited realtors.
Under proposed reforms unveiled by the Napthine government an estate agent's license will no longer be required for the sale or leasing of commercial real estate in Victoria if the property's value is in excess of $15 million, or a total floor space of more than 10,000 metres.
The decision will enable small businesses throughout Victoria to by-pass real estate agents and engage in transactions directly with landlords. Deputy premier Peter Ryan said that the proposed reforms will "save Victorian businesses an estimated $2.6 million every year and contribute to more than $715 million in red tape savings to Victorian businesses and the economy."
Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs Heidi Victoria said that the changes were aim exclusively at dealings between businesses involving large-scale commercial real estate.
"The exemptions are strictly limited to large commercial property transactions, including those between related companies," said Victoria. "The reforms merely give those businesses that regularly sell or lease large commercial property the option of using an estate agent or conducting the transaction between themselves."
The Napthine government hopes to implement the reforms by 1 July 2015, with Consumer Affairs Victoria set to launch a public information campaign to promote the use of licensed estate agents by sellers.
"People should still strongly consider engage an estate agent for these types of property transactions," said Victoria.
Despite these such reassurances, the proposed reforms have triggered outrage amongst licensed estate agents, who have pledged $1 million to a media campaign opposing Napthine's re-election.
The Real Estate Institute of Victoria, whose members are 15000 strong, have announced that they will display anti-Napthine signs in every electorate of the state if cabinet approves the regulatory changes.
In a letter sent to Heidi Victoria, REIV chief executive Enzo Raimondo accused the state government of lacking professionalism in its attempt to rush through the reforms just prior to the November 29 election.
"I must admit, in my experience in dealing with different levels of government over many years, i have never come across an issue that has been dealt with as poorly and unprofessionally as this has," said Raimondo in the letter.