by Peter Mericka B.A., LL.B
Real Estate Lawyer
Qualified Practising Conveyancer Victoria
Director Lawyers Real Estate Pty Ltd
The new Conveyancers Act 2006 comes into effect on 1 July, 2008. The new Act was supposed address problems with “black market conveyancers” and dismantle the lawyers’ conveyancing monopoly. But rather than removing the monopoly, the new Act does little more than expand the existing monopoly to include former black market conveyancers, while excluding estate agents. It’s a bit like bootleggers becoming legitimate after prohibition, but excluding the hoteliers.
Regular readers of this blog may believe that I have a dislike of estate agents and conveyancers generally. Not so. I dislike corruption, incompetence and the exploitation of consumers. Unfortunately, my investigations into these problems often lead me to the doors of conveyancers, estate agents, lawyers, lame-duck regulators, and so on.
A reading of the Conveyancers Act 2006 now leads me to suspect that those responsible for the drafting of the Act were hoodwinked, either by the conveyancers’ lobby, the estate agents’ lobby or both. There is another possibility, and that is that what seemed like a good idea at the time (i.e. the prohibiting of estate agents from acting as conveyancer and estate agent in the same transaction) was not properly considered.
If it was just a dumb oversight, that’s one thing. But if the conveyancing and real estate lobbies were behind the decision to exclude estate agents, then consumers have been duped.