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Email consent for notices

25 June 2018

Lisa Indge and Michelle Mclean recently discussed the issue of email consent for notices in a webinar for REINSW

Addressing the Electronic Transactions Legislation Amendment 2017, the experienced agents outlined best practice regarding technology and procedures, and presented case studies relating to email consent in tenancy agreements. 
 
“This amendment means we can serve notices and documents via email, but only if we have the consent of all parties to the tenancy,” explains Lisa. “Another notable change to this legislation is that agents are no longer allowed to fax notices.”

Which notices are affected?

  • Rent increases
  • Termination of tenancy (non-payment of rent)
  • End of fixed term (90-day no grounds notice)
  • Any breach of agreement
  • Notice of access for an inspection
  • Notice of intention to sell the premises

The consent form included in the REI lease should:

  • Include the tenant’s details
  • Be dated
  • Include consent to all notices and documentation relevant to the proposed sale, purchase, management or letting of the premises
  • Be served electronically by email 
  • Be signed (or electronically signed) by the tenant
“We recommend that everybody adopts the consent form and encourages tenants to agree to receiving notices via email. It’s just best practice,” says Lisa.
 
Michelle adds: “Agents must ensure all tenants opt-in to receiving notices electronically. For example, if you have multiple tenants, they must all opt-in to receiving email notices, because if you have a change of shared tenancy, it gets tricky.” 

 

What procedures can you put in place for existing tenancies?

 
Because the legislation only came into effect in July 2017, many pre-existing tenancies have not signed a new lease, and therefore have not consented to receive notices electronically.
 
“To combat this, we sent an electronic consent form to our database,” says Michelle. “It is going to take some time for everyone to get back to us, but currently about 50 per cent have provide their consent. We plan to do another mail-out in three months.”
 

Ensuring tenant consent is received

 

“It is imperative that a consent form is signed before notices are sent via email,” says Lisa. 

“Some emails can go to junk or might accidentally be deleted, so it’s important to have a secondary touchpoint to ensure the tenant has received the information.”

Both Lisa and Michelle agree that a secondary touchpoint is best practice even after the tenant has consented to email notices.

“This is especially true for routine inspections,” says Lisa. “A phone call, letter or text message is a perfect follow up to an email notice and ensures your tenant is fully informed.”

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