The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has kicked off proceedings in the Federal Court against Quantum Housing Group Pty Ltd (Quantum).
The ACCC alleges unconscionable conduct and false, misleading or deceptive conduct relating to the NRAS.
The NRAS is a government-backed scheme that aims to reduce rental costs for low to middle-income households and ensure the availability of more affordable homes on the market.
Quantum is an approved participant of NRAS. This means it is entitled to receive incentives under the scheme and is responsible for ensuring NRAS dwellings are compliant with the scheme.
The ACCC alleged that from February 2017 to July 2018, Quantum pressured property investors participating in the NRAS to terminate the arrangements with their existing property managers.
It also alleged that Quantum pressured investors to retain property managers recommended or approved by Quantum, and which had commercial links to Quantum.
The ACCC also alleged that Quantum made false or misleading representations to investors and property managers about its own rights, on top of the potential losses investors would face if they did not use Quantum’s approved property managers.
According to the ACCC, the housing group also issued guidelines to investors and their existing property managers setting out how property managers could become approved by Quantum. The guidelines required property managers to pay a $10,000 deposit to Quantum for each NRAS property they managed, the ACCC said.
What the ACCC has to say
“Payment of the $10,000 per property would mean that managing any NRAS property would have been completely unviable for many property managers,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.
“Quantum’s alleged conduct meant that investors could not select a property manager who best suited their needs, and many property managers suffered a significant loss of business as a result.”