Welcome to our blog page © Real Estate Excellence v Domain: misleading statements that ‘brought the house down'

Sourced from March 14 2017


Last Updated: 12 March 2017
Article by Catherine Ballantyne
In brief: A recent dispute between two well-known media players illustrates the need for businesses to carefully word advertisements and accurately document achievements or they could be considered misleading or deceptive.

What you need to know:

  • Be careful to be accurate in all forms of advertising.
  • When stating you have "the most" or are the "highest rated" you need to be able to provide evidence on how you have come to this conclusion.
  • If you use an asterisk to qualify your advertisement, make sure that both it and the content next to the asterisk are easy to see and read.


In the recent case, REA Group Limited ("REA") v Fairfax Media Limited ("Domain")[2017] FCA 91, Domain was found to be in breach of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) for making misleading and deceptive representations (or representations likely to mislead and deceive) in two of a number of advertisements run in February 2016.

The advertisements in question promoted the Domain app as being the best, most highly rated app, with the most listings, in contrast to competitor apps such as REA's app. The decision turned largely on an analysis of:

  • how a largely uninformed cross section of the public would respond to the advertising; and
  • whether the claims could be dismissed as "puffery", which is common within the advertising industry.

The Court held that the advertisements had to be considered through the eyes of:

  • members of the public with an interest in the property market in NSW, Victoria and Queensland; and
  • real estate agents who lease or sell property in NSW, Victoria, and Queensland.

A licensee advised that his rent roll was worth nothing – why?

I had the recent unfortunate experience of sitting with a licensee who had his rent roll valued for personal reasons, and was advised his rent roll was of no value. The advice provided to the licensee was legal advice and is dependent on each circumstance.


A simple, but easy mistake made by his staff in signing up investors on the PO Form 6. Part 7 commission stated plus GST amounts instead of the required including GST. The commission and fees should include GST. Refer to the Government notes on the form.

The licensee took the required responsibility acknowledging he did not audit and supervise his staff. The outcome was the redoing of over 400 management agreements to rectify their error.

Mainly due to the above experience, I am presenting a Business and career health check training throughout Queensland over the coming months with one session in each area. This event will focus on three key audit procedures for the business;

  • File audits – what to look for when auditing files

  • Procedures audits – key procedures the agency should have for their business

  • Routine inspections and maintenance audits – risk management, best practice and compliance procedures

I will teach and remind licensees and their staff of key procedures that should be in the agency and how to self audit.

This event could save you a lot of grief, time and money in the future.

For more information, visit here and scroll down the events to find your location.


Why the without grounds provision should not be removed

Queensland legislation

There has been a long history of Tenants Queensland (previously known as the tenants union) wishing for the without grounds provision to be removed from tenancy law. Read more information on this matter here

Section 291 clearly sets out when a notice to leave without reason cannot be given to a tenant.

Section 292 protects tenants who believe a lessor has contravened the provision.

Therefore, there is no need to add increased legislation unnecessarily.

Investors should continue to have the right to lawfully terminate a tenancy without reason. If investors comply with legislation, a lessor should have the right of possession without having to state a reason.

If you agree the without ground provision should not be removed from Queensland legislation, email the RTA to express your view and why. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

291 Notice to leave without ground

(1) The lessor may give a notice to leave the premises to the tenant without stating a ground for the notice.

(2) However, the lessor must not give a notice to leave under this section because—

(a) the tenant has applied, or is proposing to apply, to a tribunal for an order under this Act; or

(b) the tenant—

(i) has complained to a government entity about an act or omission of the lessor adversely affecting the tenant; or

(ii) has taken some other action to enforce the tenant’s rights; or

(c) an order of a tribunal is in force in relation to the lessor and tenant. 

National Rental survey results 2017

New report finds major issues with renting in Australia.

Review Tenants Qld paper to Government

Download the national study


Media Statement

Minister for Housing and Public Works and Minister for Sport
The Honourable Mick de Brenni

 Friday, February 17, 2017

Queensland renters urged to speak up

 The Queensland Government is urging tenants to stand up for their rights, following the release of “Unsettled – Life in Australia’s private rental market, the first comprehensive national study of the rental sector in Australia.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the report revealed more than half of Australian renters did not exercise their rights from fear of being blacklisted, having their rent increased or being evicted in retaliation.

“All Queenslanders deserve a safe, secure and affordable place to call home,” Mr de Brenni said.

“Given more than one third of Queenslanders rent their home, it’s essential they feel secure and supported to stand up for their rights.

“We know tenants face issues like insecure tenure, difficulty getting repairs done or ending a tenancy, but I want to reassure Queensland tenants they have rights and remedies, governed by law, to respond to these issues.”

RTA CEO Darren Barlow said Queensland tenancy laws were governed by the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Act 2008 (the Act) which clearly states tenants’ and property managers/owners’ rights and responsibilities and penalties for not adhering to them.

Business and career health check – property management education and development training

Queensland events only - one event in each area.

Find your location, date and time here

Stacey Holt from Real Estate Excellence will present this high-level workshop focusing on the following;

  • File audits – what to look for when auditing files

  • Procedures audits – key procedures the agency should have for their business.

The property manager, licensee and any staff that attend will be able to consider and therefore identify any weaknesses in their career and or with the agency so that the matter can be addressed and rectified to ensure the agency is operating to best practice, compliance and risk management.

  • The file audit will provide information in relation to the key matters that should be investigated when carrying out file audits of the rent roll. Matters of concern that require addressing and rectification can easily be identified when carrying out the file audit process.

    The procedures audit will identify any matters that require rectifying in relation to written procedures and policies for the agency. Written procedures are vital for agency best practice, staff retention and accountability plus risk management.

    The routine inspections and maintenance audit will focus on risk management, best practice and compliance matters to ensure the agency is carrying out the procedure of inspections and maintenance accordingly.

    Attendees of the session will receive three checklists as part of the session; audit checklist for files, procedures and administration review plus routine inspections and maintenance.