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 property or land if a real estate agent, auctioneer, resident letting agent or pastoral house:
- does not deal with trust money properly
- buys or obtains an option in real property you place with the agent for sale without disclosing their financial interest in the transaction
- 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:
- you give a property agent direction to invest money rather than leave it in the licensee's 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´s 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´s 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 have a valid reason, 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 and QCAT once it is completed.
We do not investigate all claims, so ensure you provide all the material you have when you first lodge your claim.
We refer all claims over $10 000 to the QCAT for a decision. We send a copy of the claim file and Inspector´s Report (if applicable) to the QCAT.
4. The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal makes a decision
Once we refer a claim to the QCAT, you must represent yourself as the applicant. We cannot represent you at the hearing.
When QCAT receives the claim, it schedules a directions hearing.At the direction hearing, QCAT will make orders for the conduct of the claim.
QCAT encourages parties to represent themselves at the hearing; however, you may engage a lawyer if the QCAT approves.
If the property agent does participate in the process, QCAT can make a decision in their absence. QCAT will inform parties in writing of the decision.
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.
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 the QCAT Internal Appeal Tribunal 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 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.
If any party considers lodging an appeal to the QCAT Internal Appeal Tribunal or Court of Appeal, we recommend that they seek independent professional legal advice. Either party may incur costs as a result of the appeals.
Last reviewed 20/03/2013