Comment on strata regulation, disclosure requirements & more                                 
 
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Strata regulations, new disclosure requirements and a forthcoming complaints register...  

May 2016

The reform of decades-old strata laws is almost complete with draft strata regulations now available for public comment. Strata managing agents and anyone impacted by the reforms should review them closely and submit any suggested improvements by Friday, 27 May.

Meanwhile the Australian Consumer Law, which affects all property professionals, is being reviewed. Submissions are also due 27 May. It’s your chance to highlight any changes needed to support Australian marketplaces. There are also changes to the Property, Stock and Business Agents regulation that you can comment on until 15 June

Catch up on what’s happening with our soon-to-be-released complaints register. Additionally, be aware of new disclosure requirements relating to homes with loose-fill asbestos insulation. 

As always, we welcome your feedback to property@finance.nsw.gov.au 

 

Have your say on strata regulation 

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The NSW Government has released draft regulations to support the major strata law changes that were passed in October 2015 to modernise strata laws. 

Be sure to Have your say on the draft Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016 and draft Strata Schemes Development Regulation 2016 by 27 May 2016. These regulations set out the detail for how the laws will operate. The laws are expected to start in late 2016.

Key areas of reform

The draft Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016 includes details such as:

  • requirements to help ensure that building assets can be better maintained
  • a streamlined process for owners seeking to make changes to their lot
  • a new process for dealing with abandoned goods or motor vehicles
  • the use of electronic voting and communication methods to support more informed and inclusive strata communities.

NSW Fair Trading will administer this regulation, and the Act that it supports.

The draft Strata Schemes Development Regulation 2016 provides necessary detail to support the new strata collective sale and renewal process, which was part of the law package passed last year. The regulation defines how a valuer must determine the unit entitlements, which are used to allocate the levy contributions and voting power. Also under the regulation, any change of by-laws will need to be lodged to NSW Land and Property Information (LPI) as a consolidated set of by-laws.  

Apart from these new provisions, the regulation continues to set standards for the preparation of strata plans. LPI will administer this regulation, and the accompanying Act.

How to have your say
The following documents will help you consider the regulations and how they will work:

This is your chance to comment on changes you believe will help the regulation operate effectively. For more details and to have your say, visit our Reform of strata laws page.

For general enquiries about the strata reforms, please call 13 32 20 or lodge an enquiry. You can also refer to our Frequently asked questions – strata reforms page.

 

Loose-fill asbestos register of affected homes  

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Tenancy and planning law amendments will help ensure that prospective purchasers and all tenants are informed if a NSW home they are buying or leasing contains loose-fill asbestos insulation. 

The addresses of specific properties that test positive for loose-fill asbestos insulation will be contained in a public register, to be made available on the Fair Trading website.

The law changes commence on 30 May 2016. From this date onwards, it will be a material fact if a property is listed on the register. This means that, if a premises is listed on the LFAI register, this information must be disclosed by the property manager or private landlord to prospective tenants.

From 30 May, tenants must be provided with an addendum accompanying the New tenant checklist to inform them about the new public register (to access the addendum from that date, visit our New tenant checklist page).  

From 30 October 2016, the standard tenancy agreement will be updated to include a new clause. This clause will notify tenants if the premises they want to lease is on the register.

Information for selling and buying agents

It is also proposed that if a property is listed on the register, the section 149 planning certificate that is attached to the contract of sale must disclose this information. Councils that are in affected Local Government Areas (LGAs) will be made aware of this requirement when it commences.

More details

For more information please visit our Loose-fill asbestos insulation page or call 13 77 88. If you sell or lease property in one of the affected LGAs, we encourage you to also attend an information session – refer to our ‘Upcoming events’ article below.

 

Proposed changes to real estate regulation 

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To benefit buyers, sellers and agents, changes are proposed to real estate regulation.

The proposed changes will: 

  • make it easier and potentially cheaper for prospective buyers to obtain pre-purchase property reports
  • remove unnecessary regulation for commercial property agency work
  • require the seller's agent to specify in the agency agreement (for residential property) the price at which the property is to be offered

Find out more about this consultation and take part by 15 June

 

Australian Consumer Law review invites your views

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The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) is being reviewed. This law impacts all consumers and traders, including property professionals.

The ACL contains measures prohibiting unfair practices and misleading or deceptive conduct.

Together with state-based regulation, the law governs property professionals’ conduct and practice.

How well is the law working as the national marketplace evolves? Should more specific measures be considered to deal with developments such as e-commerce and the shared economy?

Property professionals are well-placed to consider such questions and help inform the outcomes of the review.

To read the consultation material and provide your comments, visit the Australian Consumer Law website.

 

Public register to reveal businesses with high complaint levels

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Fair Trading will soon publish a new complaints register, listing businesses with high complaint levels.

If a business is the subject of 10 or more complaints to NSW Fair Trading in a calendar month, it will be listed on the register. Importantly, businesses that operate under the same brand name will be grouped together. The register is an open data initiative, making government data available to the public. It will also provide consumers with information they can use to inform their decision to deal – or not deal – with a particular business, and provide an incentive for businesses to ensure good customer service and resolve issues quickly when they arise.

Businesses can refer to the Complaints register guidelines, which provide information about how the register will function. For details, visit our Complaints register page. 

 

Real estate agents or salespeople?  

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What suits your needs - a licence or a certificate? A real estate agent must be the holder of a real estate licence and can call themselves a real estate agent. A real estate salesperson must hold a certificate of registration, be an employee of a licensed real estate agent and work under supervision. They can call themselves a real estate salesperson.

A licensed real estate agent is permitted to perform property management services for property being leased, and can also carry out business relating to the purchase, sale, exchange and lease of land and property. They also have responsibilities regarding trust accounts.

To become a real estate salesperson, you first need a certificate of registration and must be an employee of a person with a full real estate agent’s licence. Under supervision, this allows you to conduct all functions of a licensed real estate agent.

For more information and to check on what you can do under other categories of licence under the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act, visit the Licence categories section of our website.   

 

Rental Bonds Online reaches new heights

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More than $39 million in bonds has been lodged using
Rental Bonds Online - Fair Trading's online service that makes managing rental bonds easier for everyone. 


Rental Bonds Online is fast, convenient and secure.

Real estate agents or private landlords can lodge bonds in minutes, at any time, without having to post lodgement forms.

Everyone is kept up to date about the status of the bond through SMS or email.

If you’re not one of the more than 7,000 managing agents across over 3,000 agencies already using RBO, read more and sign up today.

 

Upcoming events 

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We’ve got plenty of events for property professionals over the next few months.

Book ahead to polish your professional skills and understand how recent law changes apply to your work.

Real Estate Agents Seminars – CPD points

Strata Schemes Seminars – CPD points

Loose-fill asbestos information session for agents – CPD points

Loose-fill asbestos community information forums

Over the next 2 months, real estate agents and other property professionals are welcome to attend our community forums. These will help you become informed about loose-fill asbestos insulation and the assistance program available to affected owners and some tenants. Fair Trading staff will be on hand to answer specific questions real estate agents and other property professionals may have about the program.

You can browse and register for one of these sessions through our events register

 
fairtrading.nsw.gov.au