Criteria for licensees

If you want to apply for any of the different classes of real estate licence in New Zealand you must first satisfy certain criteria.

To become a real estate licensee, you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Be a fit and proper person to hold a licence (see below)
  • Have the required qualifications.

You cannot become a real estate licensee​ if you are prohibited from being licensed for any of the reasons set out in section 37 of the Real Estate Agents Act 2008 (see below).

If you want to apply for an agent’s or branch manager’s licence you must have three years’ experience in real estate agency work. (Note that residential property management does not count as real estate agency work).

Some people cannot hold a licence

You may be prohibited from holding a licence for reasons listed in section 37 of the Real Estate Agents Act 2008. These include:

  • A conviction in New Zealand or elsewhere in the past 10 years, of a crime involving dishonesty or a crime committed elsewhere that would be considered dishonesty in New Zealand
  • If you are an officer of a company, or other corporate entity or partnership, where a person in its management is disqualified from being licensed in his or her own right because they have been convicted in New Zealand or elsewhere in the past 10 years of a crime involving dishonesty, or a crime committed elsewhere that would be considered dishonesty in New Zealand
  • ​A conviction in the last five years of an offence under sections 14, 17 to 22, or 24 of the Fair Trading Act 1986
  • Cancellation of a licence or certificate of approval within the last five years
  • Having a licence currently suspended under the Real Estate Agents Act 2008
  • ​Being subject to any overseas order in the last five years preventing you from acting as an agent or branch manager, or salesperson (or equivalent) unless you satisfy REAA that you are a fit and proper person to hold a licence
  • Officers of a licensee company, a chief executive officer of a licensee company, or a branch manager, disqualified from holding a licence
  • Being prohibited from being a director or promoter of, or being concerned or taking part in the management of an incorporated body under the Companies Act 1993, the Securities Markets Act 1988, or the Takeovers Act 1993
  • Being subject to the provisions of the Lawyers and Conveyances Act 2006.

Also, you cannot hold an agent’s licence if you are an und​ischarged bankrupt or are subject to subpart 4 of Part 5 of the Insolvency Act 2006. However, you can hold a branch manager’s or salesperson’s licence.

Fit and proper

The requirement to be a 'fit and proper' person applies in addition to the prohibitions which apply under section 37 of the Act.  In other words, a person may not be prohibited from holding a licence under section 37 but may nevertheless not satisfy the REAA Registrar that he or she is a fit and proper person.  The starting point for any determination is that good character is presumed unless a real question-mark is raised by the evidence.  

Matters which may be considered by the Registrar for the fit and proper person assessment (in addition to the section 37 prohibitions)  include:

  • any criminal conviction not already brought to REAA’s attention, which has not been “clean slated” under the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004​.  This includes any excess breath alcohol conviction and any traffic offence that resulted in a conviction;
  • any pending criminal charges (in New Zealand or overseas);
  • any unsatisfied judgements in any court;
  • any adverse findings against you by a court in civil proceedings;    
  • any significant financial issues, such as bankruptcy or liquidation/receivership of a company of which you are a director; and
  • disciplinary action taken by another regulatory or professional body in New Zealand or overseas.

Criminal history check

When you apply for a licence or apply to renew your licence, you give REAA authorisation to exchange information with agencies in New Zealand and overseas about your application. This authorisation enables REAA to obta​in information about your criminal history from the New Zealand Police.

REAA will request the following information about you: 

  1. A record of your conviction history and any sentences, penalties or orders imposed as a result of any conviction 
  2. A record of any discharges without conviction and charges that have resulted in diversion against you
  3. I​nformation subject to name suppression where that information is necessary for the purpose of the criminal history check.

Call us if you are not sure

If you have any questions about whether you will meet these criteria, please give us a call on 0800 367 7322 before you start studying for your real estate qualification.​​​​​