• Advocacy at the heart of REIWA's century of service to Western Australia

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    Author: REIWA President Hayden Groves

    The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia celebrates its centenary this year, officially turning 100 years old on 20 December 2018.

    While a lot has changed over the last century, the Institute’s commitment to advocating for and on behalf of West Australians has been a constant.

    The early years

    REIWA, as we know it today, was born out of a desire to stop unregulated and fraudulent ‘fly-by-night’ agents from taking advantage of land buyers. In order to combat this growing issue, a group of concerned agents formed the Auctioneers, Land and Real Estate Agents’ Association (which eventually became REIWA).

    The Association, which originally comprised 17 members (a far cry from the 1,100 REIWA has today), focused on setting ethical professional standards, promoting education for agents and advocating to ensure the protection of the buying public.

    Advocating for the WA public

    The Association’s first major legislative win occurred on 1 April 1922 when the Land Agents Act Bill and Auctioneers’ Act Amendment Bill became law.

    These Bills meant anyone wishing to deal in real estate would have to go before a Magistrates Court and apply for an annual licence.

    The Bills also meant those working outside the regulations could be reported and prosecuted – a win for WA buyers and sellers, and a strong step towards protecting the community and enhancing the reputation of licensed agents.

    In 1933, REIWA was instrumental in helping pass WA’s first consumer protection legislation – The Purchasers’ Protection Bill – which helped prevent ‘fly-by-nighters’ from deceiving buyers and sellers.

    Other major wins included successfully lobbying for amendments to the Land Agents’ Act in 1953 that would impose regulations on the qualifications required for agent licences and the cancellation of licences for agents guilty of unethical or dishonest practices.

    In 1978 the State Parliament agreed to replace the antiquated Land Agents Act with the Real Estate and Business Agents’ Bill. After five years lobbying for this change, this was hailed as the ‘most important legislative event of the decade’ for the industry.

    Another key win for REIWA was the passing of the Settlement Agents’ Bill in 1981 by State Parliament. This bill represented four years of intense work by the Institute – and provided WA with the fastest, cheapest and most professional approach to property title conveyancing in the country, an enduring legacy that remains to this day.

    It’s a testament to REIWA and all its many Presidents, CEOs, Councillors, members and staff over the last century that it has never strayed from its original mission. As the current residing President, I’m proud of the positive impact the Institute has had and continues to have on WA.

    REIWA’s public exhibition now open

    If you’d like to find out more about REIWA’s history and its impact on WA real estate over the last 100 years, I encourage you to visit REIWA’s free public exhibition ‘A Century of Service’, presented in partnership with the State Library of Western Australia in the Ground Floor Gallery until 31 May 2018.

    Find out more about REIWA’s centenary.