When strata laws will start, what's happening with tenancy and industry training and other property matters
 
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Learn when strata laws start plus what's happening with tenancy laws and industry training

July 2016

The NSW Government is considering improvements to property industry training, taking into account more than 20 recommendations for policy changes. Also, a new report reveals key updates needed to improve our tenancy laws for the future. 

Conveyancers and property agents can learn what they need to do to audit trust accounts. We also point out an annual licensee fee adjustment and upcoming CPD events for property agents and strata managers in Sydney and regional NSW.

Additionally, we have new information for property managers, selling agents and strata managers to give to their clients about testing their home for loose-fill asbestos insulation, and the deadline for NSW Government financial assistance if their home tests positive. Plus get ready for new strata laws starting 30 November 2016.   

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

 

Property training standards scrutinised

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An independent panel of industry experts was tasked with reviewing and consulting on training standards for the NSW licence-holders in the property industry.

The panel’s recommendations were released last month in a final report: A review of training for licensed occupations in the NSW property services industry.   

The report is being considered by NSW Government. It is expected that proposed reforms will be announced before the end of this year

Find out more about the panel's recommendations...

 

Report on tenancy law review released

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Enhancements to tenancy laws have been identified in a new report tabled in the NSW Parliament.

The Residential Tenancies Act 2010 – Statutory Review report details findings from consultation conducted from October last year to review tenancy laws. The report makes 27 recommendations to modernise and improve the operation of the Act, including strengthening protections for victims of domestic violence.

Legislative amendments to implement the recommendations of the report will be prepared in 2017.

Learn more about the review and download the report from our Residential tenancy law review page.

 

New strata laws to start on 30 November 2016

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It's official - the new strata laws start on 30 November. These reforms will give strata communities the tools to effectively run their scheme and shape their own by-laws. 

The new building defects bond will start on 1 July 2017. This will allow for the new Australian Standard for inspecting group title buildings to be adopted as the standard for the defects inspections. 

Strata schemes will be able to transition to many requirements without them having immediate impact. An example includes strata managing agent appointments, which continue for a period after the laws commence (up to 3 years from the start of the agreed term of appointment, or 6 months after the new laws start - whichever is the later). 

If you are a strata managing agent, become informed and help your strata scheme to prepare by giving them a copy of our Major changes to strata laws page, which is downloaded as a fact sheet. You can also read the media release: A new era for strata.

It is expected that the final regulations will be published no later than early August to provide property professionals time to understand them. These will supply the detail needed for the new laws to operate from 30 November. Fair Trading will also run information sessions and work with industry bodies to support strata schemes and update the Fair Trading website with comprehensive information on the reforms.

 

Trust account auditing – it’s time!   

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Conveyancers and property agents can now access reports for 2015-16 auditing purposes. Below, we address what is required of these licence-holders. 

Q: What are my responsibilities for auditing of trust money held in 2015-16?
A: Property agents should read the Auditor’s Guide and complete the 2016 Auditor’s Report. These key documents can be accessed from our Trust account audit requirements page. Remember to complete the report and return qualified audits to us no later than 30 September 2016.

Conveyancers should refer to the Trust accounts and audit requirements page.

Q: I did not hold trust account money in 2015-16 – what now?
A: Property agent licensees who didn’t hold or receive trust money within this past financial year no longer need to complete a statutory declaration confirming this. However, conveyancers are required to fill out the statutory declaration forms provided as they are not exempt from this requirement. Refer to our information: If no trust money held in 2015/16

 

Questions to ask landlords and sellers on loose-fill asbestos insulation 

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Property agents can now access a new fact sheet for landlords and sellers to help determine if their homes should be tested for loose fill asbestos insulation (LFAI).

The information prompts homeowners to inform agents on key questions such as:
• When the property was originally constructed?
• If the property has been renovated, and when?
• If the homeowner is aware of LFAI in the property?
• If the home has been inspected by a loose-fill asbestos assessor, and a report completed that can be passed on to the agent? 

Landlords and sellers who don’t act now to register their home for testing by 1 August 2016 will miss the opportunity to receive NSW Government financial support if the home tests positive for LFAI. Landlords also have obligations concerning tenants who may rent the property.

Access the information sheet to provide to your clients from our Questions for landlords and sellers: about loose-fill asbestos page.  

 

Free testing of strata-titled properties for loose-fill asbestos 

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If they have not done so, strata managing agents are encouraged to provide urgent information and support to owners so that they can decide on registering for free testing for loose-fill asbestos insulation.

Find out more by visiting our Register for free testing page.

 

Annual fee update

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Fair Trading has adjusted its fees charged for the property industry, such as licence and certificate fees, to reflect the increase in the Consumer Price Index. The new fees took effect on 1 July 2016.

This is an annual fee update to reflect changes in the cost of providing our services. You can refer to these fees on our Conveyancers licensing fees page or our Property, stock and business agents fees page.

 

Upcoming events 

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Don’t miss out on booking your place at one of the following information sessions.

Real Estate Agents Seminars – CPD points

Strata Schemes Seminars – CPD points

Loose-fill asbestos community information forum

 
fairtrading.nsw.gov.au