ASIC crackdown on real estate agents sparked by letter to staff member

A crackdown on real estate agents telling tenants to dip into superannuation to pay their landlords was sparked by a letter to a renter who also happens to be an Australian Securities and Investments Commission staffer.

ASIC on April 3 told the Real Estate Institute of Australia and fair trading and consumer groups across the country to notify agents that advising tenants to consider applying for early release of their retirement funds could land them in prison.

Senator James Paterson queried the regulator about the number of complaints it had received and the basis for sending the letter.Credit:Eamon Gallagher

“Specifically pointing them to and recommending them to consider the specific possibility of accessing superannuation is … likely to amount to a breach of the act,” ASIC’s letter said in regards to real estate agents.

It has since clarified that agents can inform tenants about the “existence” of the government’s scheme – which allows workers suffering financial hardship due to coronavirus to withdraw up to $20,000 of their super – as long as the information isn’t presented in a way that implies a recommendation to act.

This content was originally published here.

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