Self-Defence For Estate Agents

Peter Mericka B.A., LL.BOPINION
by Peter Mericka B.A., LL.B
Real Estate Consumer Advocate
Real Estate Lawyer
Qualified Practising Conveyancer Victoria
Director Lawyers Real Estate Pty Ltd
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Superior negotiation skills?

Estate agents are now being advised to take a course inDealing With Client Aggression & Violence.

A flyer distributed to estate agents through the REIV says,

“Have you ever felt threatened when conducting a property inspection? Do you know what to do if you are verbally or physically threatened by a client or tenant? Are you confident that you know how to effectively manage client aggression?”

What is it about real estate clients that makes them such a dangerous class of people?

What gives rise to the phenomenon “client aggression”?

Are estate agents so often the victims of “client aggression” that they must now take courses in self-defence?

Is there something about the real estate industry or the manner in which estate agents conduct themselves that contributes to “client aggression”?

The course content gives an indication of the types of trouble estate agents may encounter. The flyer tells us:

“The course will cover

  • Workplace safety and the law.
  • Negotiating strategies for preventing, defusing and managing violent situations.
  • Assessing the risks when entering a property.
  • What to do when the environment becomes unsafe.
  • How to be assertive.
  • How to identify triggers of aggression.
  • Setting methods and processes for minimising risk exposure.
  • Managing aggressive clients and difficult situations.
  • Basic self-defence and breakaway techniques.”

Now, it does seem rather ironic that people who claim to possess superior negotiation skills should require training in “negotiating strategies” designed to prevent their clients from becoming violent.

Returning to two of our original questions, perhaps there should be some serious research conducted into the reasons why otherwise normal people would become dangerously aggressive in the presence of an estate agent.

If the findings indicate that violent clients are simply opportunists, who see estate agents as soft targets during home inspections, then perhaps estate agents should not perform the roles of “crowd controller” and “security guard“, as discussed in previous postings.

Alternatively, if the environment in which estate agents operate is not inherently dangerous, then perhaps an examination of estate agents’ methods and ethics should be considered.

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