The future is here

The future is here

30 January 2020

The start of once-in-a-generation real estate reforms is just around the corner, starting in March 2020. It’s a landmark moment for the industry and implementation of the changes will result in agents delivering an enhanced level of service to consumers. Here’s a summary of how the reforms will impact you.

“Over the last decade, REINSW has been relentless in our lobbying efforts to improve professional and educational standards for the real estate industry,” REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin said. “But despite our repeated calls, the NSW Government failed to act.

“That all changed in 2015 when the government finally acknowledged that it was time for meaningful reform.”

Throughout the reform process, REINSW worked closely with the government to ensure the reform package met the needs of all stakeholders.

“Passed by the NSW Parliament in March 2018 and now commencing two years later, the reforms are a massive win for REINSW and are in keeping with our goal to professionalise real estate agents,” Mr McKibbin said.

“It’s no understatement to say that these reforms will reshape agency practice in New South Wales and represent a once-in-a-generation opportunity to lift practice standards and future proof our profession.”

Mr McKibbin said that the reforms are a win for consumers and agents alike, because better educated agents will be better positioned to meet consumer expectations and deliver better outcomes.

“I’m extremely proud of the pivotal role REINSW played in crafting these reforms,” he said. “As the industry’s leading lobbying voice, we have the ear of government. They see us as a significant force when it comes to industry issues and recognise us as the go-to body for input on all things real estate.”

At no time has this ever been more evident than throughout the reform journey.

“Without REINSW’s consistent and focused lobbying over more than a decade, it’s unlikely this reform package would have come about – and certainly it wouldn’t have been as comprehensive as it is,” Mr McKibbin said.

“Having worked so closely with the government throughout the reform process, REINSW is your best and most reliable source of information about these industry reforms.

“I look forward to working with all agents as we enter this new and exciting phase for our industry.”

“Without REINSW’s consistent and focused lobbying over more than a decade, it’s unlikely this reform package would have come about – and certainly it wouldn’t have been as comprehensive as it is.” - Tim McKibbin, REINSW CEO

Agency practice reforms

In addition to changes to the training framework, there are also reforms aimed at improving conduct, raising professional standards and enhancing transparency and accountability.

Material facts

Some greater clarity about the kinds of material facts that an agent must disclose is provided. Agents will be required to disclose whether:

  • The property has been subject to flooding (due to a natural weather event) or bush fire in the last five years
  • The property has been the scene of a serious indictable offence in the last five years
  • The property has been the scene of a drug offence in the last two years
  • A person has committed suicide in the property in the last five years
  • The property poses a serious health or safety risk
  • The property is listed on the loose-fill asbestos insulation register
  • The property is listed on the external combustible cladding register.

Trust accounts

Agencies will now be required to establish separate trust accounts for sales and rental monies.

Rental income

All rental monies received on behalf of the landlord under a Residential Tenancy Agreement must be paid out at the end of each calendar month, less any authorised expenses and unless otherwise instructed by the landlord.

Gifts and benefits

Agents will not be able to receive any gift or benefit worth more than $60 in circumstances that may be considered a conflict of interest. This will not apply if the gift or benefit is given in gratitude for services provided under the Agency Agreement.

Training reforms

Whether you’re a newcomer to the industry or an experienced agent, reforms to the real estate training framework will change the way you operate.

Assistant Agent

From March 2020, both new entrants to the real estate industry and current Certificate of Registration holders will be known as Assistant Agents.

Entry-level training requirements and CPD obligations will change, and the tasks and obligations able to be carried out will reduce.

Importantly, it will no longer be an option to hold a Certificate of Registration for your entire career. All Certificate of Registration holders will be required to transition to a Real Estate Licence within four years.

Learn more about the NEW REINSW Assistant Agent Course

Licensed Agent (Class 2)

From March 2020, current Real Estate Licence holders will be grandfathered to the new Licensed Agent (Class 2) category.

Annual CPD requirements will change, as will some of the duties able to be carried out. A minimum of 12 months’ experience as a Certificate of Registration holder will be required before applying to become a Licensed Agent (Class 2).

Licensed Agent (Class 1)

Anyone who is a Licensee-in-charge as at March 2020, will be grandfathered to the new Licensed Agent (Class 1) category.

The duties and responsibilities of a Licensee-in-charge will not change, however it’s important to note that moving forward they will be the only agents permitted to authorise trust account disbursements.

Importantly, Licensees-in-charge will be required to undertake additional CPD each year to maintain their licence.

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