My latest From the Boardroom Article

As mentioned in my last update a review of the Property, Stock and Business Agents Regulation is currently being performed by NSW Fair Trading. We reviewed the draft regulation and had no real issues with the proposed changes in the main and a submission was sent to Fair Trading on behalf of our members. One of the changes that we did take issue with was the possible deregulation of certain commercial transactions which Geoff
Hunter will comment on in his article in this edition. This issue was also discussed in some depth when EAC Chairman Dale Whittaker, Industry Liaison Officer Geoff Hunter, Jock Kreitals Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) Manager Policy and I met with the new Minister for Fair Trading, Matthew Mason-Cox in July.

On Tuesday, 24th of June, we co-hosted the NSW finals of the Australasian Real Estate Institutes’ Auctioneering Championships with the REIA. This was the second year of our involvement with this event which saw eleven of the state’s top auctioneers fight it out to go through to the Finals. This year’s winner was once again Gavin Croft of Bresic Whitney who won the NSW Final last year and the runner-up was Clarence White of McGrath Estate Agents. Gavin and Clarence will now go onto the National Championships to join contestants from around Australia & New Zealand at the final event which is being held in Auckland, New Zealand from the 21st-23rd October 2014. We wish them luck and would love to see them take out the title for NSW.

Our new eForms solution was released in early June, there were a couple of small issues experienced by some users but the feedback has been extremely positive. We are now working with My Desktop to integrate our forms with their software and will be approaching other CRM and software providers once we have completed the integration with My Desktop. If you are not using our printed and online forms then I suggest you take a look. Our forms are constantly checked and updated to ensure that they are compliant. With savings of as much as $40.00 (compared to one competitor for one single pad of printed forms based on the equivalent pad size) you would be crazy not to take a look.

The deadline for your submissions for the EAC / REIA NSW Awards for Excellence has been extended to the 18th August so if you have not completed your submission or would still like to enter you have some time left. For more information on the awards or to register to attend please click here. We would like to thank our major sponsor OAMPS Insurance Brokers for supporting this event.

The new eac.com.au website that I spoke about previously is now undergoing final testing and we are getting closer to a launch date. The new site will see a change to a totally new platform that will provide us with the foundation to build on for years to come.

On the realestateworld.com.au front, traffic and content on the site continues to grow. In July we brought on all First National offices across Australia onto the site and are currently finalising a feed from Century 21 which will see all the group’s offices come
on board.

realestate.com.au’s recent change to area based pricing has sure created some discussion in the industry. We have seen groups being formed to try to negotiate better rates with realestate.com.au. Several new so called industry portals and other new portals are popping up along with some revamps of existing portals, all looking to capitalise on what is going on. EAC has been working quietly in the background on several initiatives with agents in different areas of the state but has also been sitting back to see how all the cards fall; it is a very interesting time so stay tuned.

Finally I would like to take the time to recognise two members of the EAC team who have been with us for some time and are leaving us. First is Damien McDonald who was responsible for marketing who left us after 8 years in July to pursue the next stage in his career. The second is Sandy Eime who has worked in various roles including Publications, Red Square Support and more recently Communications who is leaving us this month after 17 years. We wish both Damien and Sandy all the best in their future endeavours.

As always if you have any questions please do not hesitate to call or email me.

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New Insurance Offering for EAC Members

Estate Agents Co-operative Ltd and OAMPS have worked together to negotiate a new insurance offering for members of the Co-operative.

The Professional Indemnity insurance provides a broad range of coverage which enables agents to comply with their legislative requirements. In addition, the policy coverage also automatically extends to a number of key benefits:

  • Fidelity (Employee Theft) – cover included for no additional premium to a sub-limit of $100,000;
  • Employment Practices Liability – cover included for no additional premium to a sub-limit of $100,000;
  • Franchisor’s coverage – the policy extending to Franchisors as insured’s where they are joined to an action with the insured, or as a result of the insured actions;
  • Insurance Distribution Activities Extension – Cover is specifically extended to include distribution of insurance products as part of a Real Estate Agency’s activities. This is very relevant in the case of property management, where commonly agents provide insurance solutions or hold agencies with insurers to provide products for property owners, tenants or strata plans. With the changing landscape of strata requirements, this is especially prudent.
  • Referral Services Extension – Agents provide their client with a number of referral sources, be it property maintenance, tradespersons, conveyancing, building and pest inspections, mortgage brokers and many more. It could be alleged that the agent has a duty to perform due diligence on any persons or companies they recommend to their own clients. The policy cover extends to protect agents for their liability arising out of any allegations or claims arising from a referral relationship.
  • Bodily injury or property damage in any way is not excluded under the policy.  This is a common exclusion that relates to a primary exposure for agents, whether showing clients through open houses, hosting auctions or providing property management activities.
  • Legal costs are in addition to the policy limit, that is the limit is available for payments of any awards against the agent, rather than being used up by applicable legal defence costs;
  • Sub-Contractors and Consultants – the vicarious liability to the insured agency is covered for the actions of any sub-contractors and consultants;
  • Dishonesty of Employees – cover is provided to the agency for the actions of dishonest or fraudulent employees, provided such acts were not condoned by the Insured;
  • Minimum premiums for a Professional Indemnity cover of $1,000,000 in any one claim, with $3,000,000 in the Aggregate begin at $1,250 including all taxes, fees and charges.
  • Higher levels of cover are available as required.

We have also negotiated reduced rates for office insurance and public liability, as well as a policy for management liability cover for members in order to provide a holistic solution to their business needs.

EAC Director Anthony Chapman stated “I recently renewed my business insurance options using this new facility and I saved over a thousand dollars in premiums whilst getting superior cover at the same time.”

For more information, or to obtain a quotation, Members can speak with their local OAMPS branch, or contact Drew Ferns at OAMPS on 02 4226 8700.

oamps_logo

Estate Agents Co-operative Ltd

Posted in Cooperative, David Crombie, EAC, Estate Agents Cooperative Ltd, Oamps, Professional Indemnity Insurance, real estate, real estate agent | Leave a comment

John Carson retires after 42 years at Estate Agents Co-operative Ltd

Last week we said  farewell to our Company Secretary and COO, John Carson’s after 42 years of loyal service with the Co-operative.

Below is a video where we said thank you to John. We wish John all the best in the future.

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Change to Swimming Pool Provisions have been delayed

The NSW Office of Local Government has announced that the provisions that require a property with a swimming pool to have a certificate of compliance before it can be SOLD or LEASED will now commence on 29 APRIL 2015 (NOT 2014) an extension of 12 months.

This means that the requirement to attach a valid Certificate of Compliance or current Occupation Certificate to the Contract for Sale or to the Residential Tenancy Agreement will now not apply until 29 April 2015.

Click here to view NSW Office of Local Government circular to councils.

For further information members can call EAC Agency Practice Support on 1300 137 161

Posted in David Crombie, EAC, Estate Agents Cooperative Ltd, Property Management, real estate, tenant | Leave a comment

New co-ops law launches in NSW and VIC

The 3rd March 2014 saw the commencement of the of Co-operatives National Law in New South Wales and Victoria which provides the national legislative framework for Co-operatives.

The new laws mean less red tape and reporting burden for smaller co-ops, and for all co-ops, the ability to trade across state borders without dual registration.

For more information read the update released by NSW Fair Trading

For more information about Co-operatives you can visit the Co-operatives and Associations page on the NSW Fair Trading site.

Posted in Cooperative, David Crombie, EAC, Estate Agents Cooperative Ltd, NSW Fair Trading | Leave a comment

NSW Fair Trading introduces changes to the Residential Tenancies Condition Report

Real Estate offices may have received an email from NSW Fair Trading on 28 February regarding a New Condition report for residential tenancies. The prescribed report has been changed by the addition of ‘window safety devices’ wherever ‘windows/screens’ appears. This change is effective from 1 March 2014.

eForms
For those offices using EAC eForms the necessary changes have been made and the updated form is now available for use.

Printed Forms
If you are using EAC printed forms these forms may still be used BUT YOU MUST write in the additional words”/window safety devices” as outlined above.

So on the form wherever you see “windows/screens” you must change this to “windows/screens/window safety devices”

EAC_Condition _ReportThe example above shows the change to EAC’s Condition Report on our eForms system.

These changes do not impose any obligation on the landlord to install window safety devices if none exist.

EAC believe that the notice provided by Fair Trading of this change was inadequate and is seeking clarification from Fair Trading as to the practicality of these changes and the likely implications for leasing and managing agents and members will be informed as soon as this advice comes to hand.

EAC Members may direct any questions they have to our Helpline on 1300 137 161.

Posted in David Crombie, EAC, Estate Agents Cooperative Ltd, NSW Fair Trading, Property Management, real estate, real estate agent, real estate agreements, real estate forms | Leave a comment

Estate Agents Co-operative introduces new cost effective CPD Workshops

Real Estate CPD Workshops

We have just released our CPD Workshop Calendar for the next 6 months which includes Property Management 2014 and Commercial and Retail Leasing and Management 2014 workshops. These workshops have been designed for agency principals and all property management staff.

 

 

These practical “hands on” sessions are  important for those who wish to update their skills in this area and who are looking at delivering client service that is second to none.

The workshops provide 12 CPD points and our early bird rates are as low as $135.00 for EAC Members which provides a significant saving over the rates charged by many other CPD providers.

Click here to view the CPD Workshop calendar for dates, locations and registration details.

 

 

Posted in David Crombie, EAC, Estate Agents Cooperative Ltd, Property Management, real estate | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

National Licensing for the Real Estate Industry is not going to proceed

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) held its 36th meeting today in Canberra and it would appear as though National Licensing for our industry will not be proceeding.

In the Communique from the meeting it was stated:

“COAG noted that, following the outcome of extensive State-based consultation, the majority of States decided not to pursue the proposed National Occupational Licensing Scheme (NOLS) reform. Most jurisdictions identified a number of concerns with the proposed NOLS model and potential costs. States instead decided to investigate approaches that would increase labour mobility and deliver net benefits for businesses and governments.”

” To this end, States agreed to work together via the Council for the Australian Federation (CAF) to develop alternative options for minimising licensing impediments to improving labour mobility and to manage the orderly disestablishment of the National Occupation Licensing Authority from early 2014.”

While EAC was in favour of National Licensing, we had stated that in the proposed form we did not believe it was in the best interest of the industry or consumers. We can now look forward to maintaining the educational standards and professionalism of the real estate occupations.

Posted in COAG, David Crombie, EAC, Estate Agents Cooperative Ltd, National Licensing, real estate, real estate agent, Real Estate Institute of Australia | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

EAC Board meets with Member Principals from Northern Rivers

The EAC Board held its November Board Meeting in Ballina on Wednesday, 27 November followed by a meeting of Member Principals from the Northern Rivers. At the meeting the Chairman Dale Whittaker and CEO David Crombie updated the members on some of the initiatives the Co-operative is currently working on and other changes that are currently affecting the industry. Each of the Directors provided the members with an overview of the property market in their respective areas and in return the meeting provided the directors with an opportunity to obtain feedback directly from the members.

EAC Chairman Dale Whittaker and EAC CEO David Crombie presenting at Northern Rivers Members Meeting

EAC Chairman Dale Whittaker presenting at Northern Rivers Members Meeting

A lighthearted moment shared by EAC Board and EAC members

A lighthearted moment shared by EAC Board and EAC members

The EAC Board would like to thank all the members that attended.

Posted in Cooperative, David Crombie, EAC, Estate Agents Cooperative Ltd, real estate, real estate agent, real estate services, realestateworld.com.au, Red Square | Tagged | Leave a comment

NSW Fair Trading starts a new Tenancy Dispute Service

OFT-logo

NSW Fair Trading has started a tenancy dispute service. The free voluntary service is said to provide a convenient alternative to having residential tenancy matters heard by the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT).

The service starts on 1 December 2013 and NSW tenants, landlords and property managers can use the service to resolve selected residential tenancy disputes.

According to Fair Trading the service can be used to assist in resolving disputes to do with:

  • repairs and maintenance
  • non-urgent health and safety issues
  • alterations and additions
  • access to the premises including inspections
  • non-compliance with the tenancy agreement
  • water saving devices and smoke alarms
  • provisions of correct notices
  • ending a tenancy
  • breaking a lease, and
  • condition reports.

If the parties cannot agree to a resolution to a dispute, either party may lodge a claim with the CTTT.  All other residential tenancy matters not dealt with by Fair Trading will continue to be heard by the CTTT.

For more information about the free dispute resolution service, go to the Residential tenancy dispute page on the Fair Trading website or contact the Fair Trading hotline on 13 32 20.

Posted in David Crombie, EAC, Estate Agents Cooperative Ltd, NSW Fair Trading, Residential Tenancies | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment