March 1, 2010

March 2010 Real Estate Excellence Industry Update

March 1 2010

I hope that this update finds you and the business going well. Hard to believe we are already in March! Sustainability and QCAT continue to be the two main topics of discussion in our industry. In relation to sustainability, the fines amnesty ended as of 1 March 2010; below is an extract from the latest Building Codes Queensland Division Newsflash.

On-the-spot fines – Sustainability Declaration

From 1 March 2010, on the spot fines will commence, and will be issued by:

• local governments for offences under the Building Act 1975 by home sellers, such as where a seller fails to prepare a sustainability declaration ($200 on-the-spot fine)

• the Department of Fair Trading for offences by real estate agents under the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000, such as failing to conspicuously display a sustainability declaration at a home’s open inspection($200 on-the-spot fine)
NOTE: the maximum penalties range up to $2000 for sellers (as per the Building Act) and up to $10000 for real estate agents (as per the PAMD Act). The sustainability declaration (and much more!) is discussed in all upcoming sales training workshops being held by Stacey Holt Real Estate Excellence. Visit the website OR contact me direct for more information. Also, the next morning tea event in Brisbane is with the OFT (Office of Fair Trading) whereby the declaration and many other issues will be discussed

QCAT – Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal

The morning tea with QCAT event, which was held on the 22nd February was well attended with the event booked out several weeks prior. Louise Logan, Principal Registrar of QCAT, gave a very informative and interesting presentation. The frustration of the industry was evident in relation to time frames for hearings. As discussed at the session, though it is far from ideal, the introduction is the biggest change to the Queensland judicial system in over 50 years. In the Real Estate Excellence QCAT Nuts and Bolts Workshops to date, I have been using the analogy of a ‘three month old baby’ – given that QCAT is now 3 months old. Whilst it is realised that these teething problems may cost lessor clients money (and agents), more than ever lessor protection insurance is to be strongly recommended by property managers and agents. Although insurance is not the answer to this problem, it is a sound risk management strategy for both lessor investors and property managers. The QCAT Nuts and Bolts intensive workshops are being held in many areas throughout Queensland.

Industry Best Practice

The following best practice tips are based on areas of agency practice that have been a common theme from clients these past weeks. I hope the following information is of benefit to your business.

Administration and Licensee Best Practice

Did you know that the PAMD Real Estate Agency Practice Code of Conduct requires that the agency prominently display to the public that there is an industry Code of Conduct and all staff must promptly advise a member of the public (customers and clients) where they can obtain a copy of the Code of Conduct for Real Estate Agents if requested?
For information about career development training focusing on risk, compliance and best practice for administrators and office managers, visit the website or contact me direct for more information.

Residential Sales Best Practice

Did you know that Section 31 of the PAMD Real Estate Agency Practice Code of Conduct requires that salespeople notify the seller immediately in writing if a buyer has not paid a sales deposit in accordance with the terms of the contract? The late deposit is not to be accepted by the agency unless the seller has been advised in writing by the agency and the seller has authorised the acceptance of the late deposit in writing.
For information about career development training focusing on risk, compliance and best practice for salespeople and administrators, visit the website or contact me direct.

Residential Property Management Best Practice

Did you know that there is confusion in the industry about rent arrears and repeated breaches? The RTRA Act states that if a tenant is more than 7 days in arrears of rent, then on the 8th day, a notice to remedy breach for rent arrears can be issued. If the tenant does not remedy the breach in the 7 day breach time period, then after the expiry of the notice to remedy breach, a notice to leave for rent arrears can be served. (add postage time frames if posted) Time frames do not need to be added for email, fax or hand delivery notice of delivery. The repeated breaches provision in the Act is a completely separate matter and is a provision in the legislation for ‘repeat offenders’; meaning that if a tenant (or lessor for that matter) continually breaches the act or agreement and notice to remedy breaches are served, and then they are remedied during the breach period, on the third or more notice to remedy breaches for the same event, the lessor/agent (or tenant) can apply to QCAT on an urgent application for termination on grounds of repeated breaches.

Until next time, enjoy Autumn!

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