27 July 2022
#Property, Planning & Development
On 13 July 2022, the NSW Government announced that an independent statutory Property Services Commissioner would be established, pending legislation being passed by NSW Parliament.
The position of Property Services Commissioner was first established in November 2021, with John Minns as the first and current appointee. The position was modelled after the successful establishment of the Building Commissioner, who was tasked to reform the building and construction sector and has so far issued over 30 orders relating to defective building work.
The Property Services Commissioner was previously a position which sat under NSW Fair Trading (which forms part of the Department of Customer Service). However, under the new changes, the appointee will operate independently and report directly to the Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation. The new statutory role addresses concerns by property industry organisations that the Property Services Commissioner lacked the independence necessary to consider feedback from the property sector or implement effective reform because NSW Fair Trading still remained the ultimate regulator.
Minister for Small Business and Minister for Fair Trading, Eleni Petinos, flagged that the independent Property Services Commissioner would be given greater powers, including to manage complaints and directly engage with consumer groups and industry and investigate legislative breaches.
John Minns will not be reprising his role. Until legislation is passed by NSW Parliament, an acting Property Services Commissioner will be appointed from 1 August 2022 by the Secretary of the Department of Customer Service, Emma Hogan.
The precise powers of the new independent statutory Property Services Commissioner remain to be seen. The industry should closely monitor the role and powers of the new Commissioner, especially in light of the impact the Building Commissioner has had on the construction and development industry generally.
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Authors: Cameron Sheather & Yunsi Feng
The information in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this article is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.