Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is New Zealand Real Estate Trust?

What is a Custodian?

What happens if there is a dispute between the vendor and purchaser regarding the contract?

Is interest paid on deposit funds?

How do deposit funds get authorised for release?

How much does it cost to use NZ Real Estate Trust?

Does NZ Real Estate Trust act in favour of any party?

How do I know the money I deposit into NZ Real Estate Trust is safe?

How do I pay my deposit to NZ Real Estate Trust?

How do I ensure deposit funds are available to be disbursed when settlement is within 3 days of the contract confirmation? 

Do Public Trust and NZRET have professonial  indemnity insurance?

What should I do if something goes wrong?

What is New Zealand Real Estate Trust?

Answer: New Zealand Real Estate Trust (NZRET) is an independent third party trust account service and is a product of SafeKiwi (New Zealand) Limited, first launched in May 2010. It has been set up to serve as an alternative to a Real Estate Agency's in-house Trust Account. It is a web based registry which individually tracks and records all deposit funds received and held by Public Trust for each property transaction. NZRET promotes this product, and the only role of Public Trust in respect of NZRET is to hold the funds in the third party trust account in a custodial capacity. Deposit funds are held by Public Trust, as the independent and neutral custodian on behalf of vendors and purchasers, and NOT NZRET. Public Trust receives and holds all deposit funds in dedicated accounts in the name of Public Trust which only they have signing authority and can administer.

What is a Custodian?

Under a standard form Custodial Agreement Public Trust acts as custodian of the deposit funds, by holding them in a separate trust account in Public Trust's name on behalf of Vendors and Purchasers. This ensures that deposit funds are kept separate from SafeKiwi and so would not be subject to any claims from Safekiwi's creditors.

What happens if there is a dispute between the vendor and purchaser regarding the contract?

Answer: If there is a dispute with a sale and purchase agreement it is resolved between the Vendor's and Purchaser's legal representative. Once the dispute has been resolved NZRET will act on the written instructions as provided and agreed to by the parties legal representatives in relation to the release of the deposit.

Is interest paid on deposit funds?

Answer: No, as interest is retained by NZRET and this is the only form of remuneration SafeKiwi receives for operating NZRET.

How do deposit funds get authorised for release?

Answer: It is the legal representatives of the parties who authorise the release of the deposit. They provide this authorisation in writing to the real estate agency. The real estate agency must declare for every deposit release that they have obtained and hold the appropriate authorities as part of their duty of care, and compliance to NZRET's Terms of Use. Once this declaration has been made, NZRET is bound to release the deposit.

NZRET audits a selection of release transactions daily prior to funds being released. NZRET sights and verifies the selected written authorisations to ensure agencies have obtained the correct written authorisations prior to the release of the deposit.  The NZRET audit process has been agreed with the Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA). If NZRET audits uncover an agency not obtaining the required written authorisations, then the REAA has requested NZRET to report the non-compliance directly to them.

How much does it cost to use NZ Real Estate Trust?

Answer: NZRET does not charge any fees for the use of its service - no set up costs, no software to purchase, no transactional fees.

Note: If a special answer is required then the person responsible for banking the deposit will pay all associated bank fees. If cash deposits is paid, these may incur a bank cash handling fee.

Does NZ Real Estate Trust act in favour of any party?

Answer: No as New Zealand Real Estate Trust is truly independent of all parties and remains neutral at all times.

How do I know the money I deposit into NZ Real Estate Trust is safe?

Answer: All deposit funds are received and held independently in a bank account under the custody of Public Trust - a Crown-owned entity. The monies in the trust account are completely quarantined from any other obligations of Public Trust.

How do I pay my deposit to NZ Real Estate Trust?

Answer: Payments can be made by cheque or internet banking deposit to Public Trust on account of NZ Real Estate Trust. The Real Estate Agency will provide details of the Public Trust/NZ Real Estate Trust bank account, including payment deposit references.  It is important to use the six digit nominated reference number provided for each sale deposit, the purchasers surname and address of the property being purchased to minimise any unnecessary delays in the allocation of deposit funds for the relevant contract.

Note: Deposits take the bank's standard 3 working days to clear, unless written proof is provided by the bank that the funds are cleared and will not be reversed.

How do I ensure deposit funds are available to be disbursed when settlement is within 3 days of the contract confirmation? 

Answer: If settlement is within 3 working days of the contract confirmation date then the deposit will require a special answer/same day clearance request to the bank at the time the deposit is made to ensure funds are cleared and available for disbursement, and early release also needs to be authorised in writing by both Lawyers.

Note:  If a special answer is required, the person responsible for banking the deposit will pay all associated bank fees.

Do Public Trust and NZRET have professonial  indemnity insurance?

Answer: Yes, Public Trust and NZRET both carry professional indemnity insurance.

What should I do if something goes wrong?

If you have a problem, concern, or complaint about any part of our service, then in the first instance please contact our support team on 0800 895 180 or email support@realestatetrust.co.nz  so that we can try to resolve the problem through our internal complaints process.

If your complaint is still not resolved via our internal complaints process then you can contact our external Disputes Resolution Scheme, Financial Dispute Resolution. This service is free to you and will assist us in resolving the issue through mediation or adjudication.
You can contact Financial Dispute Resolution at: