A Wellington real estate agent who was forced to disclose his criminal history to get his licence is challenging the Real Estate Agents Authority’s police vetting process.
Luke Domb, who works for Leaders Real Estate, initially refused to sign a waiver allowing the authority to conduct a police vetting check.
However, after realising he would not be given a licence without the check, he agreed to it.
Now, he has taken a case to the High Court, as he believes all real estate agents should not be subject to a police vetting check – instead, the authority should only conduct a criminal history check.
The authority disagrees.
Wellington lawyer Al O’Connor, representing Domb, told Judge David Collins on Wednesday that police vetting was far more invasive than a criminal history check.
Police vetting checks were usually conducted for school teachers and those in vulnerable roles – a category which real estate agents did not fall into, he said.
First of all real estate agents are often granted access and a key to people’s homes. Hence one should expect they are people of good character.
Also they are involved in what is probably the largest financial decision most people will make in a lifetime.
Police vetting included conviction history, infringement notices, demerit points, warrants for arrest, any information obtained or received by police and any interaction with police. It could also include family violence call outs and cases where the person has been discharged without conviction, O’Connor said.
“That goes beyond any logical interpretations of criminal history…the information the police store on their computer is not history, it’s intelligence.”
I want the REAA to be able to access that info. Of course they shouldn’t decline an agent just because of a speeding ticket, but if for example someone has had five protection orders taken against them, then they could well be unsuitable to be a real estate agent.