EAC meets with NSW Fair Trading and Work Cover about Asbestos

The real estate industry is becoming increasingly aware of the potentially far reaching effects of the “Mr Fluffy” loose fill asbestos issue, with Work Cover identifying 26 NSW Local Government areas currently at risk.

The problem confronting all agents and property managers is that the presence of loose fill insulation containing asbestos is a “Material Fact.”  Currently, affected properties must not be offered for sale or lease and agents have a clear responsibility to enquire from their client whether the property is insulated and if so what type.  . If the answer is “yes” or “not sure” to the presence of loose fill type then the client should obtain an inspection and report from a qualified asbestos assessor.

However, the “Mr Fluffy” issue has become a catalyst for the industry to discuss Asbestos and how agents and property managers are to deal with properties affected by it and what are the correct steps for them to take in enquiring about asbestos in the property.  This is particularly crucial since agent and property manager’s Professional Indemnity Insurance Policy does not cover the risks associated with asbestos related claims.

In January, Work Cover met with Estate Agents Co-operative Ltd, NSW Fair Trading and REINSW to discuss this issue.

During the meeting, discussion was had regarding the need to clearly outline to agents, property managers and consumers the steps that they need to take regarding asbestos in properties.  WorkCover will develop a factsheet regarding Asbestos, to tackle this need.  EAC will provide consultation on the content of this factsheet.

“The protection of agents, property managers, and consumers is paramount in this issue.  And whilst the WorkCover factsheet is necessary, it is very much a first step.  Agents and Property Managers cannot be expected to make a qualified assessment of whether asbestos is present in a property,” said Geoff Hunter, EAC Industry Liaison Officer.

Clear directions are crucial for the real estate industry in the dealing with asbestos.  Whilst the “Mr Fluffy” issue is of a great concern, it has aided in bringing to light how inadequate the procedures, for agents and property managers, in dealing with asbestos are.

The Estate Agents Co-operative will continue to work with Work Cover and NSW Fair Trading to lobby for any and all necessary changes to regulation and policy in order to ensure the protection of agents, property managers and the consumers.

New Internet Marketing Report Released

EAC is pleased to announce an update to the Internet Marketing Report for realestateworld.com.au.

The update to the Internet Marketing Report has been made available to realestateworld.com.au  subscribers.

We hope that you will love the new features and fixes we’ve packed into this update.

Summary of changes to Internet Marketing Report:

  1. Filter by Agent – Allows the user to run reports on all agents or just on the listings for a specific agent.
  2. Time Frame – Allows the user to run reports for the ‘Total Campaign’ of a listing or for the past ‘Week’ or ‘4 weeks’.
  3. Source – Allows the user to filter search results to the websites that the listing appears on, i.e. ‘All Websites’, ‘realestateworld.com.au’, ‘My Website’ (agent website)
  4. Branding – Allows the user to customise the report to a professionally branded standard.  Including: Agency logo, Agent Photograph, Agent contact details, Social media integration
  5. Professional and easily understood data – Internet Marketing Report provides Full Campaign Details which are designed to be easily understood by the vendors; including: List Price, Date of first advertised, days listed, total campaign interactions, total campaign shares. This feature is available to Pro and Elite subscribers only.
  6. Export – Allows user to easily export report data to CSV file for future analysis.

The new Internet Marketing Report will be available to realestateworld.com.au subscribers from 1 February 2015. Make sure you look out for it in your inbox.

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.

 

 

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.

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.

NSW HOMEBUYERS UNDER THREAT FROM PROPOSED CHANGES TO REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY

NSW homebuyers and property investors are most at risk from proposed changes to lower current industry standards, as suggested by the National Occupational Licensing Authority (NOLA) in its Decision Regulation Impact Statement – Proposal for National Licensing for Property Occupations (DRIS), the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) reveals in its official response to Government.

The proposal to reduce or remove the education and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements for real estate agents will put consumers at greater risk from inadequately trained and under-qualified real estate agents.

Under the new proposal, consumers in NSW would lose the assurance offered by mandatory CPD – an ongoing education requirement that is designed to increase the knowledge and skills of those working in the real estate industry and ensure high professional standards are maintained.

“The proposal fails to take into account the importance of consumer protection and the integral role played by Continuing Professional Development in our ever changing industry.

“Buying a property is the biggest investment people make, and this should be undertaken only with the assistance of a fully qualified and knowledgeable agent.

Mandatory CPD was introduced in Western Australia in 2007 for licensees and in 2009 for sales representatives. As a result, the average number of written concerns or complaints raised by the public to the REIA of Western Australia dropped from 196 in 2009 to 58 in 2010, representing a 70% reduction.

A full copy of the Real Estate Institute of Australia’s official response to the DRIS proposal can be downloaded at www.reia.com.au

Warning for Real Estate Agents – Fraudulent letter from ATO

EAC Members are advised that the letter purporting to be from the Australian Tax Office is fraudulent and should be ignored. Click here to view letter.

This letter is not from the “Australian Government/Australia taxation Office” as stated and is endeavouring to obtain both personal and property information about your clients for fraudulent purposes.

You should not respond to the letter or forward it to your clients.

Members may call our Practice Support area for more information.

The 2013 Winter Edition of From the Boardroom is now available!

EAC From the Boardroom Winter 2013

This edition features a pictorial on the NSW Heat of the Australasian Real Estate Institutes’ Auctioneering Championships, hosted by Estate Agents Co-operative Ltd.

Other articles include:

Dale Whittaker puts his opinion out there on real estate market conditions.

David Crombie provides an overview on future developments.

Geoff Hunter reports on the pending National Licensing of Property Occupations.

Damien McDonald shares 7 Essential Real Estate Marketing Tips.

The From the Boardroom publication is exclusive to EAC Members.

 

NSW Fair Trading Announces New Trust Account Audit Rules

Amendments to the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002, will commence from 1 July 2013. These amendments will change the way licensees fulfil their responsibilities in relation to the auditing of trust accounts.

Currently, licensees who have held or received trust money during their audit year are required to have their trust accounts audited and lodge the audit returns with NSW Fair Trading whether the audit was qualified or not.

Licensees who did not hold or receive trust money during their audit year are required to lodge a statutory declaration with Fair Trading to that effect.

New Laws
The amendments provide a new framework for how licensees handle their trust account auditing responsibilities under the Act, commencing from the 2012/2013 audit year.

The changes include:

  • While all licensees who held or received trust money during their audit year will still need to have their trust accounts audited, only those audits which are qualified by the auditor are required to be lodged by the auditor and licensee with Fair Trading.
  • The term ‘qualified’ is now defined in the amendments to the Act.
  • The list of persons who are qualified to audit trust accounts under the Act is extended to include authorised audit companies, members of a Professional Accounting Body as defined under the ASIC Regulation 2001 (ie. CPA Australia, Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and National Institute of Accountants) holding a Public Practising Certificate with one or more of those bodies.
  • A requirement on the auditor to forward a copy of the trust account audit (if qualified) to Fair Trading within 14 days after providing the report to the licensee.  A maximum penalty of 50 penalty units ($5,500) is provided for a breach of this requirement.
  • Licensees who did not hold or receive trust money during the audit year will no longer lodge a statutory declaration to that effect.  Instead, licensees will be required to note whether or not they did so when they next re-apply for their licence.
  • Licensees are now required to hold a copy of their trust account audit (whether qualified or not) at their registered place of business, for at least 3 years, and make it available to Fair Trading inspectors for examination if required.

Click here to view the New Trust Account Audit Rules in detail on the NSW Fair Trading website.