Claims against a real estate agent or conveyancer
The Agents Indemnity Fund allows you to make a claim against a current or former conveyancer or real estate agent, if there is no reasonable way of recovering the money you are owed.
Who can apply
You can make a claim if:
- an agent doesn't return your deposit
- rent money paid by the tenant is not paid to you as a landlord from the land agent
- your money is stolen while being held on trust
- a conveyancer doesn't do work you have already paid for
- a land agent doesn't forward the GST on a property sale to the Australian Taxation Office and you are responsible for payment.
When you can claim
Before making a claim you must be able to demonstrate that you have no reasonable prospect of recovering the full amount of the loss, other than by claiming on the fund.
This may mean you have to wait until dividends from the liquidation of the company are finalised or pursue legal action against the agent or conveyancer.
You can claim on the fund if legal action is not likely to bring you any real benefits, for example, if:
- the cost of the case will outweigh the benefits
- the agent or conveyancer will not be able to pay you any money - eg if they are bankrupt
- there is no real likelihood of success.
What happens next
Each claim is considered on a case-by-case basis by Consumer and Business Services (CBS). Claims are usually finalised within four months.
Claims can be delayed if CBS doesn’t receive enough evidence.
If the claim takes longer than four months, you will be told the reason and the estimated time remaining. If the claim takes a long time to finalise, CBS will update you on its progress every 30 days.
The Crown Solicitor’s Office (CSO) reviews the claim and provides legal advice to CBS. It will also make a recommendation as to whether or not the claim should be paid (in part or in full).
If you or the agent/conveyancer disagree with the decision, you can lodge an appeal with the District Court and you will need to seek independent legal advice.