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Real estate audit deadlines


Licensees are reminded that the deadline for real estate audits is 30 September 2017. The qualified audit must be lodged within 3 months after the end of the audit period and for most agents, must be submitted with the Director-General by the due date.

If a qualified trust account audit is not lodged by the due date, licensees could be disqualified from holding a licence and possibly prevented from renewing a licence.

Note that the auditor is now also required to lodge a copy of the qualified audit with Fair Trading within 14 days after providing the report to the licensee.

For more information, visit the trust account audit requirements page on the NSW Fair Trading website.


Strata scheme by-laws review: 30 November 2017


A reminder that owners must review their strata scheme by-laws by 30 November 2017. This is an opportunity for owners to be part of the conversations and meetings that could change the by-laws of their strata complex.

Owners should consider which updates would best suit their lifestyles and can use the model by-laws as a guide. Any changes require a special resolution vote at a meeting of the owners corporation and must also be registered with the NSW Office of the Registrar General.

For more information on by-laws, visit our by-laws in your strata scheme page.


Fire safety and external wall cladding


An inter-agency Fire Safety and External Wall Cladding Taskforce (the Taskforce) was established in June this year to develop and implement a co-ordinated, whole of government policy response to the Grenfell fire in London. On 28 July, 2017 the NSW Government announced comprehensive reforms being undertaken to further strengthen the protections in place for fire safety focusing firstly on residential buildings.

If owners and occupants of buildings are concerned about fire safety in their building, they should take action without delay. Residents seeking further information are advised to contact their real estate agent, landlord, building owner or strata manager.

It is recommended that real estate agents, landlords, building owners and strata managers immediately take the following actions:

  • identify any buildings that you are responsible for that may have external wall cladding
  • review the design, construction and approval documents for the building to determine whether cladding was installed. Seek advice about the suitability of the type of material used and the method of installation
  • ensure that the annual fire safety statement for the building is up-to-date and all fire safety maintenance measures have been addressed
  • consider engaging a suitable professional to review and inspect the overall fire safety of the building including the installation of any external wall cladding and provide an assessment of any steps required to maintain or improve the building fire safety.

More information about external wall cladding, fire safety and the NSW Government’s priorities is available on our Fire safety and external wall cladding page or download the fact sheet.


Safety and security for tenants


It is important that agents and landlords ensure any property they rent out is safe and secure for tenants. Agents and landlords must carefully and comprehensively inspect properties prior to, and during, tenancies for potential hazards such as faulty smoke detectors, faulty fire alarms, damaged appliances, electrical hazards and gas hazards. Records should be kept-up-to-date with details of any inspections. To prompt and record inspection of potential hazards, consideration should be given to amending inspection records.

More information on Safety and security when renting a home is available on our website.


Fire safety requirements for building owners


It is important to note that from 1 October 2017, new laws commence that affect building owners responsible for issuing fire safety statements, including the requirement that fire safety assessments be carried out by a competent fire safety practitioner. An accreditation framework is currently being set up to accredit individuals as competent fire safety practitioners. As it will take some time for the accreditation scheme to become fully operational, the Department of Planning will be issuing interim guidance material to industry about how to select a competent fire safety practitioner. Further information can be found on the Building Fire Safety Regulation fact sheet issued by the Department of Planning and Environment.


2017-2018 fees update


As of 1 July 2017, fees and charges for NSW Fair Trading services (including those for licensing) have changed to reflect the increase in Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Many licence renewal services provided by Fair Trading are now available online, with online licensing transactions attracting a discount.

For more information on fees and charges, visit the fees page on the NSW Fair Trading website.


Notice can now be served by email


Tenants, landlords and agents can now serve notice by email if an email address is specified by the person for the service of documents of that kind. This means that written notice such as putting up the rent, notifying access for an inspection or to terminate the tenancy agreement can be served by email if the tenant, landlord or agent has specified an email address for the service of documents of that kind. All other requirements for serving notice remain the same, including the time frame for service. You can read more about serving notice on our website.


Updated qualifications requirements for property services industry


The qualifications required for the issue of a licence or certificate of registration under the Property, Stock and Business Agents (Qualifications) Order 2009 (the Order) have been updated.

Many of the competency units in the Order have been superseded or revised, and the code identifiers for these units have changed. There is a new strata managing agent’s qualification and some redundant provisions have been deleted. This update to the Order does not involve any of the proposed changes under the real estate and property industry reforms.

To read more about qualifications visit the Fair Trading Qualifications page.


Fraud prevention


Fair Trading has recently seen an increase in identity fraud and scams being targeted towards licensed real estate agents in NSW.

This includes instances where real estate agents have sold properties and the person listed on the agency agreement was not legally entitled to sell the property.  This may occur when a person impersonates the owner of the property or where a person who owns a property in partnership with others sells the property without their knowledge.

Fair Trading has produced Real Estate Fraud Prevention Guidelines which assist agents in identifying fraud. The guidelines include common-sense practices and procedures to confirm the identity of vendors or their representatives and a list of possible fraud warning signs.  A proof of identity checklist is also available to assist agents.

The Rules of Conduct within the Property Stock & Business Agents Regulation 2014 require agents to act honestly, fairly and professionally in a real estate transaction. Agents must also exercise reasonable skill, care and diligence. Failure to comply with a rule of conduct can result in Fair Trading issuing an on the spot penalty or commencing disciplinary action which can lead to licence disqualification or cancellation.


Raising real estate and property compliance levels


NSW Fair Trading recently visited 45 real estate businesses in Sydney metropolitan locations and regional areas, as part of our commitment to high compliance levels across the sector.

To ensure the continued protection of tenants, penalty Infringement Notices were issued on 13 different occasions for the use of prohibited terms in residential tenancy agreements.


Have your say on short-term holiday lettings


The NSW Government has released an Options Paper on short-term holiday letting in NSW.

The growth of online booking services and the increased use of the sharing economy has seen short-term holiday letting expand significantly in NSW. There is now a need to reconsider the role of regulation in enabling short-term holiday letting to continue to take place, with consideration of the impact on local communities and the safety of visitors.

Community and industry feedback is sought to help identify appropriate ways for the Government to respond to the expansion of short-term holiday letting. The deadline for comments is 31 October 2017. You can read more about the Options Paper on the Department of Planning & Environment website at


Upcoming events


Don’t miss out on booking your place at the upcoming real estate reforms information seminar:

  • Sydney, Central – 16 November 2017

Other upcoming events include: 

  • Residential Tenancy Seminar, Self-managing Landlords – Port Stephens – 24 October 2017
  • Residential Land Lease Communities – Port Stephens - 25 October 2017
  • Real Estate Agents Information Seminar – Port Stephens – 25 October 2017
  • Residential Strata Schemes Information Seminar – Port Stephens – 25 October 2017
  • Residential Tenancy Seminar, Self-managing Landlords – Bowral – 31 October 2017.

Visit our events register for details.