New requirements for Rental Bonds Online and more
 
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Rental Bonds Online changes to residential tenancy laws

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From 30 January 2017, changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 make it mandatory for property agents and private landlords to invite tenants to lodge their rental bonds using Rental Bonds Online (RBO). RBO is the easy and secure service Fair Trading provides to help tenants, agents and private landlords manage bonds online in minutes, at any time, without having to post lodgement forms.

If you manage a rental property, make sure you are registered for RBO by 30 January. From that date you will need to offer RBO to new tenants as the first option for lodgement of their bond. More information about these changes is available on our Rental Bonds Online (RBO) changes to residential tenancy laws webpage.

Find out more about RBO by visiting the Rental Bonds Online section of our website, including information on the benefits of this service and how to register.
 

Selling residential property? Read this!

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The ban on underquoting residential property has been reinforced in recent amendments to the Property, stock and business agents laws that commenced on 16 December 2016.

The tightened laws make clear that licensed agents are responsible for any underquoting law breaches under their watch.

Underquoting provisions will apply to an agent regardless of who they employ or otherwise engage in the sale process. The agent must also ensure those persons are appropriately licensed.

Agents are not required to make any changes to their business under these laws, but need to be aware they are responsible for underquoting regardless of who they engage in the selling process.

A blitz in early 2016 issued warning letters or fines for the following underquoting law breaches:

  • instances of underquoting – where the marketed price was lower than the price in the agency agreement
  • failing to record representations made to prospective buyers regarding a property's estimated selling price
  • using banned terms such as 'offers above' or 'offers over' to promote a residential property for sale. Such terms can underquote or obscure a property's true estimated value, which is misleading to potential buyers
  • not amending the price in the agency agreement when the estimated selling price is revised
  • revising the estimated selling price in the agency agreement, without:
    • recording the evidence for why it had changed
    • keeping records to show that the seller was updated with the evidence for why the estimated selling price had changed.

Penalties were also imposed for:

The inspections took place in the Sydney metropolitan area and in regional centres in NSW.

For assistance with your obligations, read the information for agents: Underquoting guidelines for residential property on the Fair Trading website.
 

Have your say on improving fire safety in NSW

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The NSW Government is seeking to improve fire safety in new and existing buildings and is asking for your feedback on changes to relevant legislation and certification.

Improving fire safety has been given special priority by the government in their response to the final report on the statutory review of the Building Professionals Act 2005, released in September 2016.

To view the draft Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Fire Safety and Building Certification) Regulation 2017 and to have your say on the proposed changes, please visit the Department of Planning and Environment's consultation page.

Submissions can be made until 31 January 2017.
 
fairtrading.nsw.gov.au