If you have suffered a financial loss because of certain actions or inactions of a real estate agent, auctioneer, resident letting agent, pastoral house or their employees, you may be able to make a claim against the claim fund.
You must produce evidence of financial loss, usually in the form of receipts for work completed or valuations of property in terms of capital loss.
Reasons for making claims
You can make a claim relating to land or other property if a real estate agent, auctioneer, resident letting agent or pastoral house:
- does not deal with trust money properly
- does not disclose their financial interest (beneficial interest) in the property before you sign a contract
- makes a false representation about a property
- does not give you a written statement about vacant land that cannot be used for residential purposes before you sign a contract
- does not give you a statement that identifies the lot you are buying
- steals or misapplies property or funds entrusted to them, such as not forwarding bond money to the Residential Tenancies Authority.
You cannot make a claim if:
- a property agent steals or misapplies money in trust accounts after you authorise them to invest the money rather than leave it in their trust account
- you do not disclose all relevant information to a prospective buyer
- you deal with a property developer or the property developer´s employees
- a property agent does not disclose their relationship to a professional service provider that they recommend you use
- you are a licensee and have suffered a financial loss in the course of performing an activity, or carrying on business as a licensee, e.g. you are a property agent who loses money while running your business or dealing with another agent.
Try to settle the claim yourself first
Always try to settle the claim first with the licensee through the property agent´s complaint resolution process.
If you cannot resolve the dispute, then you can lodge a written claim with us.
1. You lodge your claim with us
Complete a PAMD Form 50 - Claim against the claim fund (PDF, 163 KB). Give as much information regarding the property agent as possible. There is no fee to lodge a claim against the claim fund.
Tell us the names of the business' proprietors, as a business name is not a legal entity. To find out business or corporation proprietor names, purchase a business name extract from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
On the form you must provide the business' name in this format:
- ABC Pty Ltd trading as XYZ Realty (if it is a company)
- John Smith trading as XYZ Realty (if it is a sole trader or partnership).
Time limit for making a claim
You must lodge a claim within one year of becoming aware of your loss, or within three years of the event that caused the loss (whichever is earlier). If legal proceedings are under way about the matter, you can lodge a claim within three months of the end of those proceedings, as long as the legal proceedings began within the time permitted to lodge a claim against the claim fund.
We will decide if you made your claim within the correct timeframe. If we determine your claim was lodged late and you have a valid reason, you may apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for an extension.
2. We notify the property agent
If your claim is in order, we notify the property agent of your claim through a Claim Notice, and give them a chance to respond and settle the matter. They may try to contact you directly. If you accept a settlement, you and the property agent must notify us.
If you do not settle your claim, the property agent may give us their version of the facts within 14 days of receiving the Claim Notice. If you and the property agent cannot settle the claim within 28 days of them receiving the Claim Notice, give us written notice that you still wish to proceed with your claim.
3. We may investigate the claim
We may investigate the claim further to try to find more evidence if you and the property agent cannot settle.
If an investigation is requested, we send a copy of the Inspector´s Report to all parties once it is completed. You then have 14 days to respond with more evidence or documents. We send these responses to all parties, who then have another 14 days to respond.
We do not investigate all claims, so ensure you provide all the material you have when you first lodge your claim.
4. We make a decision
We decide all claims for $10 000 or less without a hearing.
We document, sign and date our decision, and state:
- the decision and our reasons for it
- the findings of the case
- who is liable to reimburse the claim fund.
- decide your claim on the balance of probabilities of the alleged event happening and you suffering a financial loss as a direct result
- allow your claim in full or in part, or reject your claim
- decide the amount of your loss after taking into account any fault on your part, such as failing to take reasonable action to stop your loss
- determine the person liable for your loss.
Within 14 days of making a decision, we send all parties a copy of the decision with information abouta review notice. The decision is legally binding unless a party applies to QCAT for a review within 28 days of receiving the notice. After this appeal period ends, the property agent cannot challenge any part of the decision again.
5. We pay the claim
If QCAT makes a decision in your favour, it is subject to a 28-day appeal period during which any party may appeal to QCAT or higher. We cannot represent you in any appeal, and costs may be awarded against any party.
If neither party makes an appeal or an appeal is decided in your favour, we can pay you from the claim fund. We will not make any payment before the 28-day appeal period expires. After this time, you can expect payment within 21 days in most instances.
Appealing our decision
If any party is unhappy with our decision, they can appeal to QCAT to have the decision reviewed. You must lodge your application for review with QCAT within 28 days of receiving written notice of the decision.
If you apply to QCAT for a review of our decision, you must represent yourself as the applicant. We cannot represent you.
After you lodge your application and fee with QCAT, you must give us and the respondent a copy of your application. QCAT will schedule a directions hearing. At the directions hearing, QCAT will make orders for the conduct of the review.
QCAT encourages parties to represent themselves at the hearing; however, you may engage a lawyer if QCAT approves.
If the property agent does not participate inattend the hearing, QCAT can make a decision in their absence. QCAT will inform parties in writing of the decision.
If your claim is allowed, we will authorise payment of the amount the claim fund. If either party applies for a review, we do not pay the amount until the review and any appeal of QCAT´s decisions are finally decided.
QCAT may award costs against any party on grounds such as outcome, the parties´ conduct, the claim´s complexity, the claim´s relative strength and anything else QCAT considers relevant.
Read more about QCAT.
Appealing QCAT's decision
If any party is not satisfied with QCAT´s decision, they can appeal to the QCAT Internal Appeal Tribunal or Court of Appeal but only on an error of law or jurisdiction. You must make your appeal within 28 days of receiving notice of QCAT´s decision.
If any party considers lodging an appeal, we recommend that they seek independent professional legal advice. Costs may be ordered against any party following an appeal.
Last reviewed 20/03/2013