Rejig of act planned to tackle rogue valuers

Last updated 05:00 30/01/2013

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A "well-overdue" review of the outdated legislation governing registered valuers will begin this year after criticism the industry has failed to act against rogue valuers involved in fraudulent property deals.

Land Information New Zealand (Linz) said it intended starting a review of the "occupational regime" for valuers in the middle of the year.

The valuation industry is governed by the Valuers Act 1948. The act provides the registration process for valuers and established an independent statutory body, the Valuers Registration Board (VRB), which disciplines valuers.

The review had been welcomed by the Property Institute, of which the Institute of Valuers is a member.

It said it had asked successive governments for over a decade to review the 1948 act.

"We don't believe that the Valuers Registration Board has been adequately resourced to regulate that those who call themselves registered valuers meet the profession's high standards," Property Institute chief executive office David Clark said.

Any new regime needed to enable the institute to promote the vast majority of quality valuers, while being able to take action against those who do not meet both the institute's strict code of ethics and Australasian and international valuation standards.

Under the current system, the Property Institute had no power to act against registered valuers and could only forward complaints to the VRB.

The industry's failure to act against tame valuers, or valuers for hire, was blamed by the industry body on its regulatory system.

Industry chatter said the VRB had been too slow and timid to take action against tame valuers, despite some obvious transgressions, which had damaged the industry's credibility.

So-called rogue valuers played pivotal roles in a number of property scams which saw inflated valuations, well above the actual worth of the properties, used to secure mortgages for unsuspecting investors.

The Serious Fraud Office has taken no action despite saying it would prosecute several for their involvement in property scams which defrauded banks and home buyers.

In 32 years the VRB has suspended 10 members and struck off 14 - its toughest penalty for a mix of unprofessional behaviour. It can also fine members up to $10,000.

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