October 30, 2011

Latest REEA Member Update - a free edition with a bonus offer

Please find attached below a complimentary copy of the latest REEA Member Magazine– updates such as below are sent to Members twice a month plus many other benefits – Bronze Agency Membership is only $11 per week – $286 per half year including GST. Payment options are Credit card via PAYPAL, Direct Deposit or Cheque.

Sign up for Bronze Membership  Monday 31st October by 5pm and receive the following bonus of the last twelve Member editions (sent via email)

  1. If you have any questions about Membership, please be sure to phone or email.
    1. Remember services are guaranteed and focus on risk management, compliance and best practice for Licensees, Administration, Property Management and Sales. These updates are great training and educations resources for all of the team.  A fantastic way to keep up to date with best practice, risk management and best practice.
      1. If you require more information about Stacey Holt and Real Estate Excellence – please visit www.realestateexcellence.com.au - for membership forms and information, please download from the site OR email stacey.holt@realestateexcellence.com.au

        Good luck on the Cup and have a great week!

        Industry Update

        Pool Safety Certificates and a Reminder about the Pool Register

        Real Estate Excellence recently wrote to the Pool Safety Council (PSC) Queensland regarding new pools and the pool safety laws. The following clarification has been received by the PSC.  A reminder to Members that Queensland pool and spa owners only have until 4th November 2011 to register their pool and spa on the Government register – www.dlgp.gov.qld.gov.au

        A Final inspection certificate (Form 17) may be used in place of a pool safety certificate providing that it was issued after December 2009. A Form 17 has the same validity period as a pool safety certificate, ie a Form 17 for a shared pool has a validity period of one year, and a non-shared pool has a two year validity period.

        Curtain and Blind Laws Update

        As reported in the last Member Update, new curtain and blinds laws may impact our industry. The matter is very ‘grey’ and unclear as to the actual impact.

        Real Estate Excellence has received the following response from the OFT Queensland and shall advise Members accordingly once further information comes to hand.

        Please be advised that this question is being considered nationally. However this Office strongly recommends that property owners, wherever they can, ensure their premises are safe, i.e. if they are aware of a property where there are children staying, it is advised that blind and curtain cords don't present a strangulation hazard for children under 3.  It is also recommended that property owners look out for other potential hazards, for example bunk beds etc. Our Office will liaise with the ACCC and get a ruling on this issue so that you can pass this information onto your clients.


        Auditing Trust Accounts

        The audit period for licensees under the PAMD Act is the 12-month period in each year ending on the last day of the audit month. Your audit period depends on when your licence expires. Check the table below to see when your audit report is due.

        Month of licence expiry
        Audit period (dd/mm)
        Audit report due by end of
        01/10 - 30/09
        01/11 - 31/10
        01/12 - 30/11
        01/01 - 31/12
        01/02 - 31/01
        01/03 - 28/02
        01/04 - 31/03
        01/05 - 30/04
        01/06 - 31/05
        01/07 - 30/06
        01/08 - 31/07
        01/09 - 31/08

        Applying for an extension

        To apply for an extension to your lodgement time, contact Office of Fair Trading (OFT) before the audit report is due to be lodged. The notice must state the reason for the extension and the extra time you require.

        Lodging your audit report

        If you are renewing your licence, attach your audit report to your renewal application. Otherwise the OFT will send a requisition letter advising you to submit your report. If you have a licence with a three-year term, you must send the audit report for the non-renewal years to the audit section.

        Changing an auditor

        If you change auditors, you must tell the OFT in writing within one month and include the reason for the change.  Your auditor is required to either countersign your letter of appointment or tell the OFT that they will be acting as your auditor.

        Applying for approval as an auditor

        An auditor is automatically approved if they are:

        • registered as an auditor under the Corporations Act
        • a member of CPA Australia or the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia
        • a member of the National Institute of Accountants who has completed an auditing component of study in accountancy over at least three years.

        If the auditor is unqualified, they must lodge an application for approval to audit a licensee´s trust account using Form 14 - Application for approval as an auditor

        Ceasing to trade

        You must lodge your final audit within two months after ceasing to trade.

        Unused trust accounts

        If you do not use your trust account within a year, you do not have to submit an audit. However, you do need to submit a statutory declaration stating that you did not operate a trust account during the audit period.

        Agents who have unclaimed trust money, i.e. money that has been disbursed but not presented to the beneficiary, that is more than 12 months old at the 1 April each year should contact the Public Trustee. You can also get information on how to deal with unclaimed trust money from the Public Trustee´s Office.


        A penalty of $20 000 applies if an auditor improperly reports or leaves out required items. To review the required items contact Stacey Holt.  The OFT can suspend a licence if a licensee continually fails to lodge an audit. If you continue to not lodge audits after being convicted, they can suspend your licence until you lodge the report or cancel the licence.

        This Information has been sourced (with minor editing by Real Estate Excellence) from www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au. Forms listed above are available for download from the Fair Trading website.

        Residential SALES best practice

        Rental Properties for Sale

        The PAMD Real Estate Agency Practice Code of Conduct states that when sales people list property for sale, they must notify the managing agent in writing that the property has been listed. The Code/s for Property Agents and Resident Letting Agents) requires the managing agent to notify the tenant in writing that the rental property is now for sale. This generally means that the Property Manager managing the property should issue the RTA Form 10 Lessor’s Notice of Intention to Sell.

        The RTRA Act requires that salespeople issue a Form 9 to the tenant each time they enter and provide a copy to the Managing agent unless otherwise agreed. The minimum time period is 24 hours; Section 193 of the Act provides an example of the 24 hours’ notice

        If the lessor or agent hands the tenant an entry notice at 2.30p.m.

        on a Tuesday, the lessor or agent may enter from 2.30p.m. on the


        Further obligations are imposed on salespeople in regards to the taking of photos or images that are to be used in advertising; section 203 requires that tenant’s written consent be obtained before the images can be used. Real Estate Excellence has a best practice form that is available to all Members upon written request. Platinum Elite Members please note that this form is on the disk recently supplied from Real Estate Excellence under the Sales category folder.

        If the rental property is to be sold by Auction and the Auction is to be held on site, the Act requires that the tenant’s written consent be obtained to allow the auction to be held on site.  Written consent is also required for open houses.  The definition of an open house can found below in section 204 (2) of the RTRA Act.

        If a rental property is listed for sale within the first 2 months of a tenancy (including a tenancy renewal) and the tenant has not been advised prior to the commencement, tenants are able to give 2 weeks written notice and vacate the property without penalty. (Section 307) 

        Please refer to the relevant sections below from the PAMD Real Estate Agency Practice Code of Conduct and the RTRA Act.

        RTRA Act

        203 Lessor or lessor’s agent must not use photo or image

        showing tenant’s possessions in advertisement

        Unless the lessor or lessor’s agent has the tenant’s written

        consent, the lessor or agent must not use a photo or other

        image of the premises in an advertisement if the photo or

        image shows something belonging to the tenant.

        Maximum penalty—20 penalty units.

        204 Lessor or lessor’s agent must not conduct open house or

        on-site auction without tenant’s consent

        (1) The lessor or lessor’s agent for premises must not do either of

        the following without the tenant’s written consent—

        (a) conduct an auction, or allow an auction to be conducted, on the premises;

        (b) conduct an open house, or allow an open house to be conducted, on the premises.

        Maximum penalty—20 penalty units.

        (2) In this section—

        open house means an advertised period during which premises that are for sale or rent may be entered and inspected by prospective buyers or tenants generally.

        PAMD Real Estate Agency Practice Code of Conduct

        37 Notifying managing agent of appointment to sell

        If a real estate agent accepts an appointment to sell a property that is a place of residence or business that is tenanted, the agent must immediately give written notice of the appointment to any agent responsible for managing the property.

        38 Notifying customer of appointment to sell (same provision as section 33 of the RLA Code of Conduct)

        (1) This section applies if a real estate agent managing a rental

        property is aware that—

        (a) the property is listed for sale; or

        (b) a real estate agent or auctioneer has been appointed to

        sell the property; or

        (c) the client intends to sell the property by private sale.

        (2) The agent must immediately give the customer written notice


        (a) the intended sale of the property; or

        (b) the appointment of the real estate agent or auctioneer for

        the sale of the property.

        (3) This section does not apply to a customer renting premises if

        the right of occupancy

        The next Member update will discuss tips and information on what can be done if tenants are not allowing entry and reasonable inspections.

        Residential PROPERTY MANAGEMENT best practice

        General Questions and Best Practice Response
        Below are some common questions asked from property managers and best practice responses from Real Estate Excellence that will be of assistance to property managers and licensees.
        How to tackle landlords that want tenants to deal with light bulbs, clean gutters, house washing, trim trees etc. and some dialogue we could use
        Real Estate Excellence Suggested Response
        The RTRA Act states in section 185 that lessors are responsible for maintaining their property and inclusions (if needed quote the section in full verbally or in writing)
        Although the legislation is broad and does not specifically mention matters such as light bulbs, gutters, house washing etc. our agency has a policy that due to risk management, we deem this to be a lessor responsibility. Particularly with the reference in the legislation to inclusions; due to the risk involved with this matter (and others) we strongly urge you to attend to the matter as part of your maintenance obligations.
        If you disagree with our position and request that tenants undertake such duties, we request your instruction in writing, plus we will require special terms that need to be drafted for the tenancy agreement in which we cannot supply as only lawyers or landlords can write special terms for tenancy contracts.(as per the Legal Profession Act Section 24) We respectfully also recommend that you contact your public liability insurance company in the event that the tenant is injured whilst carrying out the maintenance obligations to ensure that you are protected should the injury result in  claim.

        Please find following commentary from the Residential Tenancies Authority (who do not look generally at matters of risk for lessors/agents and tenants) – www.rta.qld.gov.au

        Who is responsible for supplying and maintaining light bulbs?
        Who is responsible for light bulbs when they blow?
        “The Act does not specifically refer to the supply of light bulbs or the maintenance of light bulbs.

        Ideally, the lessor and tenant should discuss issues associated with light bulbs and their replacement at the start of the tenancy, and make reference to any agreement in the special terms of the tenancy agreement.

        The provision of light bulbs should be identified in the Entry Condition Report.

        Industry standards hold that the lessor/agent is responsible for maintaining specialised bulbs such as fluorescent tubing, expensive globes etc, whilst the tenant is responsible for the replacement of everyday inexpensive globes.

        If an agreement cannot be reached about the replacement of light bulbs, either the lessor/agent or tenant may apply for conciliation/dispute resolution.”

        How to tackle routine inspections with tenants who are not keeping the property clean (a lot of them think we are only inspecting for maintenance or damage, and are not looking at how they keep it). Wondering what is best practice here? Is it always worth breaching a tenant for cleaning? Or depending on the extent, is it worth mentioning to the tenants verbally or in writing, is there some dialogue or should this always go in writing regardless of the seriousness of the issue

        Real Estate Excellence Suggested Response
        Section 26 of the Standard Terms of the lease agreement states that the tenant must keep the premises cleaning having regard to how the property was found; this means that the tenants must keep the property clean similar to the way it was found as per the entry condition report.
        If the way the tenant is living is damaging the property such as excessive oil splatter, mould on grout, excessive hand marks on walls, marks on carpet there are two options;
        • Br the tenant for standard term 26 (example available) – if the cost of the cleaning or issue would cost more than one week’s rent to rectify, consider reinspecting within 14 days of the expiry of the breach to ascertain that the matter/s have been remedied (section 192 (2) of the RTRA Act) or
        • Speak with the tenant if possible and or write a courtesy letter to the tenant explaining their obligations and requesting that the matter/s be attended to.

        The option will depend on the extent of the cleanliness concern and actual damage occurring. Always advise the lessor what is happening and what action has been taken to rectify the matter.
        It may be useful to remind tenants on the entry notice cover letter of their obligations under the tenancy contract such as standard term 26.
        Trees and fencing….we are never sure where we stand and are not sure how to convey professionally to a landlord where our responsibility ends and where they need to handle these issues

        Real Estate Excellence Suggested Response
        Explain to the lessor that “Our agency manages the tenancy relationship on your behalf; we do not manage your private property affairs. We hold qualifications for Real Estate Agency practice and this qualification does not extend to matters that are outside our scope and area of expertise.  We regrettably are unable to provide assistance in this particular area”.
        We can provide you with general information and links to Government information to assist you with any tree or fencing matters and or concerns with neighbours. However regrettably we are not in a position to deal with the matter. Thank you for your understanding.

        How do we cover ourselves with tenants who keep the property in poor condition, don’t pay rent on time but the landlord has instructed us to keep them on? Should we put something in writing regarding this, or some dialogue when dealing with these landlords (who then complain about lack of rent and the condition of the property?)

        Real Estate Excellence Suggested Response
        Remind lessors of tenant’s obligations and your agency recommends that action be taken to rectify the concerns such as breach notices and sometimes termination depending on the situation. Refer to relevant sections of the RTRA Act and the tenancy agreement such as section 280 and section 188.
        Lessors should be advised of the risk to their landlord insurance if they do not instruct accordingly. Their lack of action may jeopardise a future policy claim. Also a lessor option is repeated breaches if the tenant receives more than 2 notice to remedy breaches in a 12 month period and remedies the breach; on the third or more breach, an urgent application to QCAT can be made to have the tenancy terminated due to repeated breaches. This section cannot be used if the tenant has been provided a notice to leave and the notice to leave was not followed through.
        If the lessor does not heed this advice, and you are spending more time than needed on properties, you may consider writing to the lessor explaining that due to the continual rent arrears and the lessor tolerance, your agency may need to consider negotiating the management fee due to the extra services required to manage their property this situation OR consider terminating the agreement.
        Ensure that all recommendations from the agency are placed in writing to the lessor and request written instructions for sound risk management.
        Property Management Resource CD

        Real Estate Excellence is proud to release a new service. The Property Management Resource CD has over 160 training and resource documents.  Substantial Member Discounts are provided as part of this service. For more information, please email Stacey Holt.
        The following information is included on the CD provided.

        • PAMD Form 20a best practice completion (4 pages) plus explanatory notes
        • RTA Form 18a best practice completed for house and unit example
        • Anti-Discrimination booklet to use for training and to give to lessors
        • Pool Safety Laws best practice information booklet plus fact sheets
        • Safety switch brochure
        • Smoke alarm best practice information sheet plus fact sheets
        • PAMD Real Estate Agency Practice Code of Conduct plus best practice explanation for sections relevant to property management
        • RTRA Act sections that commenced in July 2009 plus link to the Act and the regulations to download)
        • DRUG Lab awareness training .wmv file – 22 minutes plus notes for staff training and awareness including legislative tips on how to end a tenancy if a drug lab is found
        • Best practice tenancy sign up CD – 20 minutes to use in staff training
        • RTA Fact sheets and the green book plus a guide for managing property for managers
        • QCAT training workbook for staff training

        • RTA Form 11 best practice examples for;
          • Illegal use of the premises - Smoke alarms
          • Illegal use of the premises - Pools
          • Breaching special terms
          • Rent arrears
          • Noise
          • Pets kept inside in breach of agreement
          • Unapproved pets
          • Not keeping the premises clean
        • Real Estate Excellence Best Practice Information and Training Sheets
          • Break leases
          • Flood disaster
          • Inviting the tenant to the final inspection
          • Minimum period before rent can be increased
          • Negotiating tenancies on behalf of the lessor
          • Payment of rent by electronic transactions
          • Rent increases from one fixed term to another
          • Rental bonds
          • Rental property and advertising special terms
          • Rental property inspections – tips for every property manager
          • Tenancy applications – beginning with the end in mind
          • The importance of passing on risk to the lessor
          • What happened to declined tenancy applications
          • Termite inspections – where do the responsibilities lie?
          • When tenancy documents must be given to new tenants
          • Water charging and rental property

        • QCAT published decisions and appeals (68 decisions)
        • QCAT Forms
          • QCAT Form 2 Minor Civil Dispute – urgent and non-urgent application
          • QCAT Form 8 Counter application
          • QCAT Form 9 Affidavit of service
          • QCAT Form 39 Application to appeal
          • QCAT Form 40 Application for miscellaneous matters
          • QCAT Form 43 Application for reopening
          • Application for waiver of fees
          • QCAT Request for compensation
          • Request for written reasons or audio CD
        • QCAT Form 2 best practice completed for non-urgent and urgent applications

        The information provided is current as at October 2011.

        Kind regards

        Stacey Holt – Director 

        Real Estate Excellence Academy Pty Ltd  ACN 143 352 023

        Office 07 3161 1865        Mobile 0423 018539
        PO Box 154, Alderley QLD 4051


        Real Estate Excellence Academy Pty Ltd provides General Real Estate Agency Best Practice  Advice and Services Only. We do not provide legal advice. Clients are advised to seek advice from legal professionals for legal matters.This email (including attachments) is confidential and is intended solely for the use of the person to whom it is addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify Real Estate Excellence  immediately by return email or by telephone on 0423 018 539 and delete the original email, destroy any printed copy and do not disclose or use the information contained in it. This email represents the views of the individual sender, unless otherwise stated. We do not warrant that this email or its attachments are error or virus free.  Marketing emails are meant to assist you and the industry; not bother you. If you do not wish to receive marketing emails from Real Estate Excellence, please visit www.realestateexcellence.com.au and enter your details then click unsubscribe. Thank you.

        October 29, 2011

        November Edition Real Estate Excellence Member Update.

        Welcome to the November Edition of the Real Estate Excellence Member Update.

        Industry Update

        Neighbourhood Disputes Resolution Act 2010 – 1st November 2011


        Sales CONTRACTS and the new tree and fencing laws

        The Pool Register – 4th November 2011

        Credit Card Payment Option Now Available

        Real Estate Excellence now offers an additional payment method for Membership and Training Services. Credit Card through PAYPAL is now an option open to Members. Cheque and direct deposit are still options as well. The next Member invoices shall provide information as to how to make payment easily and securely through PAYPAL if that is your preferred method.


        Assignment Provision of the PAMD Form 20a and PAMD Form 22a

        Residential SALES best practice

        Rental Properties for Sale

        Residential PROPERTY MANAGEMENT best practice

        Standard Terms and Special Terms

        Stacey Holt - Director
        REAL ESTATE EXCELLENCE ACADEMY PTY LTD