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Window safety devices in strata: install by 13 March

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Do you live in, own or manage a townhouse or unit block? To prevent children falling from windows, strata schemes must have window safety devices installed on all applicable windows by 13 March 2018. This applies to openable windows where the internal floor is more than 2m above the surface outside and within a child's reach (less than 1.7m above the inside floor) – see the diagram below.

Window safety diagram

The devices must:

  • enable the maximum opening to be less than 12.5cm (a device that allows the window to be fully opened, fully closed and limited to less than 12.5cm is compliant), and
  • be able to withstand a force of 250 newtons (which is equal to 25 kilograms of force).

Complying safety devices include devices attached to a window frame or robust bars (as long as the opening can be limited to less than 12.5cm and can withstand a force of 250 newtons). Complying devices must also be installed on applicable windows in all common access areas, such as stair landings.

If window safety devices are not installed by 13 March 2018, owners corporations may face fines. Owners corporations are not required to monitor or enforce the use of window safety devices but must ensure they are installed by the 13 March deadline. 

Residents with safety devices installed can still fully open their windows if they wish to do so, but it is strongly recommended that devices be engaged whenever children are present, to prevent falls.

Find out more about window safety device requirements on our website.

 

Real estate and property industry reforms update

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A Bill containing proposed changes to real estate and property laws affecting training, educational and licensing requirements was introduced to Parliament in late November 2017. The Bill will be debated by Parliament in early 2018.

The proposed changes will raise professional and training standards for NSW real estate and property licence holders and include:

  • improved entry-level qualification for certificate holders
  • new CPD requirements
  • a new licence category of ‘licensee in charge’ requiring these agents to possess additional skills and experience and to provide better supervision of employees
  • new fraud prevention measures
  • enhanced disciplinary provisions where there is high and immediate consumer risk.

The Bill and the Second Reading speech are available from the NSW Parliament website. Changes to regulations and guidelines which support the operation of the Bill will be developed during the course of 2018.

For more information about the proposed changes and for updates on the progress of the proposed reforms, read the Real estate and property industry reforms page or Frequently Asked Questions on our website. 

 

Stata building bond and inspections scheme

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The new strata building bond and inspections scheme started on 1 January 2018.

Under the scheme, developers must lodge a building bond with NSW Fair Trading equal to 2% of the contract price for residential and mixed-use high rise strata buildings, before an occupation certificate is issued.

The building bond can then be used to pay the costs of rectifying any defective building work identified in a final inspection report. If there are no defects, the bond is released in full to the developer.

The scheme applies to construction contracts signed (or where there is no contract and building work commences) from 1 January 2018.

More information on the scheme and the requirements is now available on our website.

 

FuelCheck app helps you save on fuel

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With so much time spent on the road, the NSW Government’s new FuelCheck app can help you find fuel savings that really add up. The free tool giving motorists a bird’s eye view of real time petrol prices across the state is now available to download.

The app will search for fuel by price, location, fuel type and even brand, making it quicker and easier than ever to find the best deal on fuel, wherever you are in NSW. You can compare real-time petrol prices in your area without leaving your home or office.

Visit the NSW Fair Trading website for more information or download the free FuelCheck app from the App Store or Google Play today and start saving.

 

eConveyancing: Is your lawyer or conveyancer on board?

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Conveyancing and Certificates of Title are moving into the digital space in NSW.

By 1 July, all stand-alone transfers and caveats, along with mortgages and discharge of mortgages, must be lodged electronically.

For buyers and sellers of property, eConveyancing offers many benefits, including:

  • reduced risk of manual errors, fraud and delayed settlement
  • less visits to a lawyer or conveyancer’s office
  • immediate transfer of cleared settlement funds
  • immediate registration of interests on settlement.

To find a lawyer or conveyancer who is using eConveyancing, visit the PEXA website.

To learn more about eConveyancing in NSW, visit the Office of the Registrar General website.

 

Foreign resident capital gains withholding – new simplified process for purchaser payments

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The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is simplifying the way in which foreign resident capital gains withholding (FRCGW) payments are made.

Only one FRCGW payment is now required per settlement, even if two or more purchasers are included in the transaction.

When purchasers lodge their Purchaser payment notification with the ATO, they will receive a single payment reference number (PRN). This will be sent to the person listed as the primary contact on the purchaser payment notification form. They will also be sent one payment slip with a barcode that can be used to pay the withholding tax.

Only a single payment is required to pay the total withholding amount. However, where two or more purchasers are included in the transaction, they may choose to make separate payments. The same payment slip should be used for each payment.

Payment can be made to the ATO electronically or by cheque or in person at any Australian Post outlet quoting the PRN or using the payment slip (as applicable).

For more information visit the ATO website.

 

Upcoming events

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Don’t miss out on booking your place at the upcoming real estate reforms information seminars: Cronulla on 21 February 2018 and Castle Hill on 14 March 2018

Other upcoming events include:

  • Price Representation Seminar – Dee Why - 14 February 2018
  • Strata Schemes Information Seminar (for professionals) – Cronulla – 21 February 2018
  • Strata Schemes Information Seminar (for owners and tenants) – Cronulla – 21 February 2018
  • Self-managing Landlords Information Seminar – Cronulla – 21 February 2018

Visit our events register for details and to keep up-to-date on other events coming to your area.

 
fairtrading.nsw.gov.au