The Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA) has introduced a set of initiatives aimed at reducing the activities of ‘unscrupulous operators’ within the property investment industry, including the launch of a new website and anti-spruiking advertising campaign, as well as hightened fee and commissions disclosure policies for its members.
PIPA chair, Ben Kingsley, says the actions form part of the association’s on-going pledge to create a more professional property investment industry and come at a time when property market activity continues to gather pace and interest in property investment via SMSFs heightens.
“Dodgy operators and underhand practices remain an on-going problem in the property investment industry,” he says.
“Unfortunately, as long as property investment remains unregulated, Australian investors will remain at the mercy of profiteering property spruikers. But PIPA remains dedicated to eradicating unscrupulous practices and these latest measures are a clear reflection of our strong resolve to do that.”
Kingsley says the advertising campaign warns investors about the lack of government regulation and the dangers that property spruikers present, while the newly designed website provides investors with information about the association and property investment, as well as a search-by-postcode directory of PIPA professionals (including investment advisers, mortgage brokers and buyer’s agents).
A range of investment articles and updates on regulation progress will also form part of the website as it develops. PIPA has also moved to further protect the interests of investors with a strengthened disclosure policy, which requires all new and existing members (upon their membership renewal) to provide documentation regarding their fee and commission disclosure policies, including any arrangements with third parties or other related entities.
With the recent change of government, Kingsley says the association is optimistic that regulation of property investment is one step closer.
“The new Liberal government had expressed concerns over the lack of property investment regulation whilst in opposition and we are hopeful that the new year will see some progress made in this regard,” he says.
In the meantime, Kingsley urges investors to conduct full due diligence to ensure they deal with trustworthy operators.
“Do your homework and ask as many questions as you can; firstly with regards to any potential service provider’s property qualifications and also with regards to fees and commissions. These should always be made very clear to you at the outset…whether you’re looking for a property investment adviser, mortgage broker or accountant – essentially any professional involved in the property investment process.”