May 31, 2012

7.5 million Australians on the Do Not Call Register

5th birthday and 7.5 million numbers and counting

Do Not Call Register reaches new milestone

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the Do Not Call Register, which now has more than 7.5 million numbers registered, including half of Australia’s fixed line home numbers and over three million mobile numbers.

‘Many Australians are opting out of receiving unsolicited telemarketing and fax marketing,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. ‘7.6 million registrations since 2007 is a ringing endorsement of the effectiveness of the Register.’

The ACMA has also implemented the recent decision by the Australian Government to extend the registration period to six years.

In 2011, more than 1.6 million new numbers were registered, a 15 per cent increase on the numbers registered in 2010. The new online service that allows government bodies to register high volumes of numbers at a time has also proved successful, with over 147,000 numbers registered to date.

The Do Not Call Register is a free service where you can list your private numbers (mobiles, landlines, faxes and VoIP) to opt out of receiving most unsolicited telemarketing calls or marketing faxes. Limited exemptions allow some public interest organisations, such as charities, to contact numbers on the register. Numbers may also be contacted where there is consent from the consumer.

According to ACMA research in 2011, 88% of those on the register reported a significant reduction in unsolicited telemarketing calls. People on the register who are still getting calls can make a complaint to the ACMA. People can register or re-register their numbers any time at or calling 1300 792 958.

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact: Blake Murdoch, on (02) 9334 7817, 0411 504 687 or
Source - ACMA
If members require assistance with compliance with these laws, please contact me

May 30, 2012

June 2012 Real Estate Excellence Member Update

Page Number
Member Update
·       Stamp Duty Reinstatement
·       Sustainability declaration removal
·       Direct Marketing Reminders
·       New privacy laws coming
·       Member renewal invoices

Licensee/Administration Best Practice
·       Staff Workplace Health and Safety Direction

10 to 11
Residential Sales Best Practice
·       Requirements to specifically explain sole, open and exclusive agreements to sellers

12 to 15 
Residential Property Management Best Practice
·       Exits condition report and vacates – compliance and best practice

16 to 18  

The attached list are the topics and matters discussed in the June Member Update 2012.

The Member Update shall be emailed to Members on or before 4th June and will be available for download at the Member DropBox site from June 2012.

New Privacy Laws coming for Australia

Privacy law reforms tabled in parliament

Kaman TsoiAuthor page »
In brief
  • The Commonwealth Government has tabled a bill containing major reforms to the Privacy Act.
  • New Australian Privacy Principles will replace the current National Privacy Principles (applicable to the private sector) and Information Privacy Principles (applicable to the Federal public sector).
  • Key areas impacted by the Australian Privacy Principles: direct marketing, cross-border data disclosure, privacy policies and notice requirements, credit reporting.
  • The enforcement powers of the Privacy Commissioner will be expanded, including the ability to seek penalties of up to $1.1 million.
  • For most of the new provisions, entities will have 9 months to comply once the amending bill receives Royal Assent.
The Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Bill 2012 (Cth) (Bill)1 was introduced to Parliament this week. If enacted this Bill will make significant amendments to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act), giving effect to more than half of the 295 recommendations in the 2008 Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) report on privacy laws (ALRC Report).2
The majority of the new provisions to be introduced by the Bill have a deferred commencement of 9 months from the day after the Bill receives Royal Assent to allow the entities sufficient time to prepare.

The Australian Privacy Principles
In accordance with ALRC’s recommendations, the Bill creates a new set of Australian Privacy Principles (APPs), which will replace both the Information Privacy Principles (IPPs) (for the Federal public sector) and the National Privacy Principles (NPPs) (for the private sector).
The thirteen APPs will apply to both Federal government agencies and private sector organisations (which are defined collectively as ‘APP entities’). Mostly, the APPs will apply equally to all entities, however there are some areas where ‘agencies’ and ‘organisations’ are treated differently. For example, organisations must only collect personal information reasonably necessary for their functions and activities, whereas agencies also have the right to collect information ‘directly related to’ their functions and activities.3
The APPs are more closely based on the NPPs, so the changes will be more extensive for the public sector. The APPs do however include a number of changes that private sector organisations should be aware of, including some of those discussed in this update.

Direct marketing
APP 7 is a new direct marketing principle, but will not apply to the extent that the Spam Act or the Do Not Call Register Act apply. APP 7 is expressed to apply to organisations rather than agencies, however agencies may need to comply in relation to their commercial activities by virtue of the existing section 7A of the Privacy Act.
Where the direct marketing involves a use or disclosure of sensitive information, consent will be required.
For other personal information:
  • consent will only be required if it is reasonably practical to obtain it and either the information was collected from a third party or the individual would not reasonably expect the direct marketing
  • organisations must give individuals the ability to opt out, and
  • individuals must not have previously opted out.
An exception is provided for contracted service providers to Federal government agencies.
In all cases individuals will have the right to:
  • request the source of their personal information
  • opt out of receiving direct marketing communications from the organisation, and
  • opt out of disclosure of their personal information for third party marketing.
Cross-border disclosure
Under the proposed APP 8.1, an entity that discloses personal information to a recipient outside of Australia will be required to take ‘such steps as are reasonable in the circumstances to ensure that the overseas recipient does not breach the APPs’. The government has indicated that in practice this will often involve entering into a contractual relationship with the overseas recipient.4
Under the new cross-border disclosure regime in the Bill, Australian entities that disclose personal information to overseas recipients will generally be liable for privacy breaches committed by those recipients—although the Australian entities may have recourse through their contracts. As the government acknowledges, this reflects a shift away from the ‘adequacy approach’ seen in NPP 9 and the EU to an ‘accountability approach’, as adopted by APEC and Canada.5 The government also comments that the ‘chain of accountability’ is not broken simply because an overseas recipient engages a subcontractor.6
There will be some exceptions to the ‘reasonable steps’ and accountability obligations. One of these is where the recipient is subject to a law or binding scheme similar to the APPs which gives appropriate enforcement rights to the individuals. Guidance from the OAIC is anticipated on this point. Notably, contractual provisions will no longer be sufficient alone to avoid accountability. Consent will also provide an exception, but must be more explicit than under NPP 9.
Some concerns have been raised in the media that the new APPs will significantly reduce the use of offshore cloud computing services. It is hard to see this being the case. While retaining data in Australia or a jurisdiction with similar laws will be more attractive in that it will overcome the accountability issue, we expect to see cloud computing customers seeking to use contractual measures to protect themselves in case they are held liable for a breach by the provider.
It should also be noted that APP 8 is not intended to apply ‘where personal information is routed through servers that may be outside Australia.’7 Entities will however need to take reasonable steps to ensure that personal information routed outside Australia is not accessed by overseas recipients as this will be considered disclosure.8

Privacy policies and notices

The bill confirms that the requirements for privacy policies and notices will be expanded to require additional details including the following:
Click here to view the table.
Any entities that rely on physical copies of their privacy policies, and on printed forms and other materials containing privacy notices, may need to commence reviewing their materials soon after the Bill is passed to ensure that they are able to print and distribute new materials within the 9-month grace period.

Credit reporting

The current Privacy Act credit reporting regime is significantly overhauled in the Bill. As foreshadowed, the new approach is a move towards ‘more comprehensive’ credit reporting, allowing credit reporting agencies to record five new ‘positive’ data sets such as account opening/closing dates, in addition to previous ‘negative’ indicators such as payment defaults.
One of the new data sets, repayment history, will only be available to regulated National Consumer Credit Protection Act lenders who are subject to responsible lending obligations. This will tend to exclude some other credit providers such as utilities who offer services on a ‘post-paid’ basis.
The amendments have been considerably redrafted since a Senate Committee reported on the exposure draft last year.9
A parallel process of redrafting the Credit Reporting Code of Conduct is also under way, with an issues paper having been released in March.10

Enforcement – penalties up to $1.1 million

The Bill sets out a number of new enforcement powers and functions for the Commissioner which had been flagged by the government but not documented in this form until today. The new functions and powers include the ability to:
  • accept written undertakings that may then be enforced in court
  • seek civil penalties of up to $1.1 million for serious or repeated breaches, or for certain credit reporting breaches
  • require Federal government agencies to conduct privacy impact assessments
  • undertake privacy performance assessments, and
  • recognise external dispute resolution schemes.
This information has been sourced directly from as at 30th May 2012

Direct Marketing - have you got the consent required by law?

Direct Marketing laws in Australia include the Federal Privacy Act, Spam Act and Do Not Call Register. Real Estate Agents and Property Managers cannot direct market consumers via phone, email, sms or post unless they have the person's consent. The burden of evidence of consent falls upon the agent to prove. Information and Fact Sheets for staff training for Members is available on the Real Estate Excellence Member DropBox site.

The following article was written by Clayton Utz - Philippa Hore and Chris McLeod

  • Australia    May 24 2012

  • Businesses can't indiscriminately use every item of personal information they have about customers for marketing.
    The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has sent a clear warning to businesses that they cannot indiscriminately use every item of personal information held about customers for marketing purposes.
    The case also highlights the fact that burying an opt-out privacy consent in fine print at the end of a customer communication will not mean you haven't interfered with privacy.

    The mobile phone number and direct marketing calls
    The OAIC received a complaint from the customer of a financial institution. The customer had been required to provide their mobile number to the financial institution to set up internet banking, and was told at the time that the financial institution would only use the mobile phone number to provide security identification for internet banking.
    Five years later, the customer received several calls from a direct marketing company, which tried to sell the customer insurance products on behalf of the financial institution.
    The Commissioner investigated the complaint. The financial institution did not deny that the customer had provided their mobile phone number for security identification purposes, but it told the Commissioner that it had sent the customer a letter about its insurance products a week before the telephone calls.
    The letter contained a notice in fine print on the back page, which stated that the financial institution would provide the customer's mobile phone number to a telemarketing company unless the customer called a number to opt out.
    On this basis, the financial institution sought to rely on National Privacy Principle (NPP) 2.1(a), which provides that an organisation can use personal information for a purpose related to the primary purpose of collection, if the individual would reasonably expect their information to be used for that purpose. Because the customer had not called to opt out, the financial institution argued that the disclosure of the customer's mobile phone number to the telemarketing company was within the customer's reasonable expectations.
    The Commissioner did not agree. He considered that:
    • The primary purpose of collection of the mobile number was to provide extra security protection for banking transactions. Disclosing that mobile number for the secondary purpose of enabling the direct marketing company to contact the customer was not related to the primary purpose.
    • Even if the disclosure was related to the primary purpose of collection, the customer would not have reasonably expected their mobile phone number to be disclosed to the telemarketer. The Commissioner considered that the customer was unlikely to have closely read the correspondence at all, given that it was about a service that the customer was not interested in. Further, the notification that the customer's mobile number would be disclosed to the telemarketing company unless the customer opted out was placed on the back of the correspondence in extremely small font (despite its being titled "Important Information").
    The Commissioner then considered whether the customer's failure to opt out amounted to an implied consent to the disclosure of their mobile phone number to the telemarketer (although the financial institution had not sought to rely on consent). He formed the view that implied consent had not been obtained, taking into account the OAIC's NPP Guidelines, which state that an organisation will have difficulty in establishing consent by failure to opt out where the opt-out provision is not clearly and prominently presented or easy to take up.
    Finally, the Commissioner considered whether the disclosure was permitted by NPP 2.1(c), which allows organisations to use personal information for the secondary purpose of direct marketing in certain circumstances. He found that this provision did not apply, as it permits an organisation only to use personal information for direct marketing itself, not to disclose that information to a third party for direct marketing purposes.
    The Commissioner found that the financial institution had interfered with the customer's privacy. The financial institution provided the customer with a letter of apology and an assurance that the customer would not be included in any future marketing campaigns. It also undertook to conduct a review of its marketing campaign procedures.
    Businesses should not simply assume that every item of personal information held about customers can be used for marketing purposes. The purpose for which each item of personal information was collected, and what the customer was told at the time of collection, must be considered. Businesses using opt out mechanisms to obtain consent should also carefully consider the NPP Guidelines when formulating how those opt out mechanisms are presented. If this is not done, the consents may not be considered to have been validly obtained and conduct relying on them may breach the Privacy Act.
    Source of above article is as at 30th May 2012

    May 26, 2012

    Property Managers - Do you know the answers to these questions? Queensland

    The following questions are example of some of the matters that will be covered in the Property Management Excellence Training Events being held through Queensland from June to September (one session per area only)

    What legislation governs the management agreement?

    Do tenants have to be given an opportunity to go back and clean after a vacate? What law does this come from?

    Do Property Managers have to complete an exit condition report when carrying out a vacate? Why/Why Not?

    How long do Property Managers have to lodge QCAT papers when a tenant has been given a Form 12 Notice to Leave for rent arrears and has failed to vacate? What form must be lodged?

    What form would you lodge if a tenant put in an application to QCAT and only told 'half the story' and was not correct in their allegations?

    If a tenant receives 2 notice to remedy breaches for the same thing in a 12 month period, and remedies each breach, can a notice to leave be issued on the third breach?

    What is the time period for a notice to leave for unapproved pets after the tenant has been given a breach notice and fails to remedy the breach?

    How long does a tenant have to return an entry condition report? What are the requirements of a Property Manager when giving the report to the tenant?

    What are the seven ways to lawfully end a tenancy in Queensland?

    Are tenants required by law to be invited to the final inspection (vacate)?

    These and and many more relevant questions will be discussed and answered during the upcoming Property Management Training - the 40 questions that all Property Managers should know the answers too.

    For more information, please email

    QCAT - do you understand the system?

    QCAT (Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal) is where tenancy disputes are heard for either urgent or non urgent matters.

    Urgent and Non Urgent Matters are legally defined under sections 415 and 416 of the RTRA Act (Qld).

    Today's licensee and property managers should have sound understanding of QCAT and procedures including the many documents that have to be used in matters.

    Do you understand the following?

    * What form to use for urgent or non urgent applications and how to complete them?
    * How to use a QCAT Form 8 - Counter Application?
    * What is an urgent and non urgent application?
    * What are the time frames for lodging matters?
    * Do you understand the precedent decisions?
    * Do you know how to make an appeal on behalf of your lessor client?
    * How are QCAT matters enforced?
    * All hearings are recorded, how do you obtain a copy of the hearing?

    Real Estate Excellence is holding a QCAT Training session on 6th June. Private training services face to face or telephone training services are also available.

    A Training CD is also an option to train in your own time in your agency.

    For more information visit or email

    May 20, 2012

    When do staff have to be registed with OFT (Qld) - Business Health Check Training

    This week in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast, Business Health Check Training will be presented by Real Estate Excellence.

    The following topics will be covered;

    PAMD Act requirements for office signage, what must be on display, complaint handling requirements, employment register and when do staff have to be registed with the OFT.

    PAMD Form 22a and 20a key compliance completion tips

    Social Media Polices, Discrimination, Workplace Health and Safety tips and much more!

    A representative from PSAQ and a Fair work inspector will also present and be available after the session.

    All attendees will receive the following via email after the event;

    Discrimination guide for rental booklet
    Social media template policy
    Contract flow chart for Residential Property
    Employment register template
    PAMD code of conduct for Real Estate Agents
    PAMD Form 20a and 22a template (4 pages)

    For more information, including the workbook, visit

    May 18, 2012

    Staff safety, attempted rape of an agent

    I write this with a heavy heart. I have just been informed of the following from a fellow agent

    An attempted rape last night at an open home. It was a young lady who was showing the house and a guy tried to rape her - she got out of it by saying look there is a camera and pointing to one of the alarm sensors and he ran off, it was in an upmarket area of Brisbane too.

    We must always treat our safety as the number one priority in our business; this issue above is such a frightening and horrific situation and one that no-one should be exposed to!

    This matter has to be considered for all agents and property managers when showing property day and night; where possible have two people available. Although I realise having two people is not always practical, we must remember that we are number one.

    Sadly with a certain part of our society being damaged; people steal, are violent or could be sexual offenders. Particularly with after hours inspections with only one person, think seriously after the safety concerns.

    Licensees have a duty to ensure staff are safe. Do you have safe work procedures and policies in place?

    I hope the young lady is ok, thoughts and prayers with you.

    May 16, 2012

    Social Media Policy - Risk Management and Best Practice

    Social Media Policy

    All Employees and Contractors are advised that our Agency have the following policies regarding the use of Social Media such as Facebook and Twitter. Breaching any of the following policies could result in disciplinary or other action against the employee or contractor.

    1. Use common sense. You should refrain from posting items that could reflect negatively on the Agency or otherwise embarrass the organization, including comments or other posts about drug or alcohol abuse, profanity, and other inappropriate conduct. Don't use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, or engage in any conduct that would not otherwise be acceptable in the Agency’s workplace.
    2. Show proper respect for people’s privacy and for topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory, like politics and religion.  
    3. Respect the law, including those laws governing defamation, discrimination, harassment, and copyright and fair use.
    4. Don’t use the Agency logo, unless specifically authorized to do so.
    5. Don’t disclose the Agency’s (or anyone else’s) confidential or other proprietary information. Ask permission to publish or report on meetings or conversations that are meant to be internal to the Agency.
    6. Don't reference Agency staff, clients or customers without their approval.
    7. If you publish content to any website outside of the Agency and it has something to do with work you do or subjects associated with Agency, use a disclaimer such as this: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent the Agency's positions, strategies, or opinions.”  If what you are publishing is, in fact, Agency official business, be sure that that you are authorized to make such statements on behalf of the organization.  If there is any doubt, check with your supervisor/licensee.
    8. Make sure that your online activities do not interfere with your job performance.

    9.      Respecting differences, appreciating the diversity of opinions and speaking or conducting yourself in a professional manner is expected at all times. If you aren’t completely confident about what you intend to share, you should seek management input before you post.

    10.   Advise the Licensee as soon as practicable if you become aware of any posts that reflect negatively on the business or posts that may cause the Agency reputation to be damaged.

    Name of Employer

    Name of Employee/Contractor


    May 15, 2012

    Qld real estate industry faces further scrutiny

    The Fair Work Ombudsman is re-visiting Queensland’s real estate industry after last year finding that many employers were failing to lodge staff pay agreements.

    Fair Work inspectors will audit 125 businesses over the next three months to check that they have lodged written agreements for their staff with the Queensland Property Industry Registry (QPIR).

    Last year, the Fair Work Ombudsman audited 156 real estate agents throughout Queensland and found that 81 (52 per cent) had failed to lodge agreements.

    In a follow-up campaign, inspectors will now revisit those employers who had failed to lodge agreements and will randomly select additional businesses for scrutiny.

    The Fair Work Ombudsman will also work with key industry stakeholders to contact more than 2000 real estate industry employers throughout Queensland to make them aware of their obligations under workplace laws.

    The follow-up campaign will focus on real estate agents, business and hotel brokers, strata and community title management businesses, stock and station agents, buyers’ agencies and real estate valuation agents.

    Fair Work inspectors will audit employers throughout Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast and in regional areas including Ipswich, Loganholme, Cairns, Mount Isa, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Hervey Bay, Gladstone, Gympie, Toowoomba, Gatton, Stanthorpe, Charters Towers, Kilcoy, Maryborough, Roma and Longreach.

    It is a requirement under the Real Estate Industry Award 2010 for employers to lodge a written agreement with the QPIR for all staff classified as property / strata management or property sales employees.

    The agreements must state how the employees will be paid - commission-only, part-commission or as per the rates listed in the Modern Award.

    Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson says employers who fail to lodge agreements are at greater risk of underpaying their employees.

    “We are conducting this follow-up campaign because we have identified that many of the underpayment complaints we receive from real estate industry workers in Queensland are against employers who have not lodged pay agreements with the QPIR,” Mr Wilson said.

    “By ensuring employers are complying with the requirement to lodge agreements, we aim to prevent underpayments and pay disputes before they occur.”

    Source  - A Fair Work Inspector will be attending Real Estate Excellence Business Health Check Training next week – Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast - May 2012  (For more visit

    May 14, 2012

    Mid May Member Update 2012

    Topic – bumper 18 page edition
    Member Update
    ·       OFT puts the industry on ‘notice’
    ·       QCAT Case – tenant claims $307 000 from the lessor
    ·       Member survey
    ·       Landlord newsletter (information sheet) service commences
    ·       Mandatory disclosure of building performance at time of sale or lease
    ·       Member invoices for next period

    Licensee/Administration Best Practice
    ·         Employment Authority and Employment Register

    Residential Sales Best Practice
    ·       Price Disclosure and Auction Property Disclosure requirements

    Residential Property Management Best Practice
    ·       Lessor disclosure requirements and disclosure of death at a property

    The Mid May Member 2012 Member update will be emailed to Members on the 15th May 2012 -

    May 12, 2012

    FREE DRUG Lab Awareness Training CD to assist with workplace safety and health; Real Estate Training

    Property Management Excellence Training (Queensland)

    40 questions that property managers should know the answers too

    FREE Drug Lab Awareness Training CD plus more

    This workshop will discuss common questions and provide answer to what property managers should be aware of in their day to day career. Common questions that lessors and tenants ask plus areas of agency practice that are of particlar importance. Topics include

    * dishonour fees and tenants
    * smoke alarms, curtain laws
    * vacates, breaches and much more.

    Real Estate Excellence training sessions always focus on compliance, risk management and best practice.
    Real Estate Excellence and Queensland Police have a formal partnership to assist the industry in Drug Lab Awareness (PROJECT CLAWS).Detectives from Qld Police ILLICIT Team will be presenting a short important information session as part of this training event about drug labs and what every property manager and licensee must know.

    A best practice document will be provided to all attendees in relation to the legislation in Queensland for ending tenancies plus a Half hour training Drug Lab Awareness Training CD produced by Real Estate Excellence (valued at $55) will be provided to each office that registers to attend. The training CD is valuable as part of Workplace health and safety law compliance for ALL staff (including salespeople).

    May 9, 2012

    Why your agency should be a Member of Real Estate Excellence

     I am currently seeking feedback from members through a 8 question survey; below are some of the responses to date in regards to the question "What do you like most about our services?"

    So much information & help available if needed.
    9/5/2012 7:32 AM
    Prompt reply to emails regarding issues, excellent information given. Very trustworthy.
    8/5/2012 8:58 PM
    I like that you don't just tell me The answer you help me Find it so I can learn
    8/5/2012 8:40 PM
    Your services make us feel like we are not in this alone and it is comforting to know you are only a phone call or email away.
    8/5/2012 8:36 PM
    The experience Stacey offers my office
    8/5/2012 7:38 PM
    Information is always communicated in a friendly understandable user friendly manner yet very informative.
    8/5/2012 7:30 PM
    The peronal efficient and knowledgeable assistance.
    8/5/2012 5:36 PM
    The information you feed through to us, without even asking is next to none. Your prompt replys to questions no matter how busy you are and the best and most experienced training any PM can ask for .
    8/5/2012 4:48 PM
    Your availability.
    8/5/2012 4:12 PM
    The very first with breaking industry news - you make us look good!
    8/5/2012 4:02 PM

    Thank you to Members who have responded to the survey so far. Your business is greatly valued and appreciated.

    For information about Membership, please visit or contact me direct on 0423 018539 or email

    Workers Compensation claims made by Real Estate Agents

    Below are some interesting tips regarding past data relating to injuries occured by Real Estate Agents and Property Managers workplace compensation claims.

    Is your office complying with the new laws? Stay safe when you are at work.

    Members please note that there are a number of fact sheets and information available at the Member dropbox site.

    Falls, Trips and slips of a person = 42%
    Body stressing  = 22%
    Other and unspecified mechanisms of injury = 17%
    Mental stress = 8%
    Being hit by moving objects  = 5%
    Hitting objects with a part of the body = 4%
    Heat, radiation and electricity = 1%
    Real estate agents total = 100%


    Hospitality, Recreation and Other Services Industry: Statistical update 2005-06 End of Year

    May 8, 2012

    Landlord Disclosure Statement

    Real Estate Excellence is asked on many occasions do we as agents have to disclose deaths (natural or unnatural) that have occurred at rental property to prospective tenants? How do we know the property history?

    Recently the Gold Coast Bulletin reported of an incident whereby a tenant is wanting to break their lease due to finding out from neighbours that a meth (drug) lab had been at her property. (this allegedly was not disclosed to her by the lessor or agent).  The Gold Coast Bulletin named the wrong agent in this case which is another point and grossly negligent on their part.

    The above has raised the issue of landlord disclosure of a property history. Queensland law requires agents and property managers to take reasonable steps to verify the material facts of a property to avoid error, omission, exaggeration and misrepresentation.

    These issues above (and others) raise many issues about landlord disclosure. Particular focus has long been on sellers passing onto information to buyers however the issue in Property Management has long been neglected.

    Real Estate Excellence is designing a best practice disclosure statement to be given to landlords at sign up of the management agreement (and to be given at any time for existing landlords to complete).

    The disclosure statement required to be made by the lessor (landlord) will include flooding, any known criminal activity, past insurance claims, no legal impediment and much more.

    This best practice form will be made available to Members as part of the Mid May Member Update and available afterwards on the Member Dropbox site.

    As an industry, we must continually take action to protect our agencies for risk management. We must always remember that we act an agent for the client; and must be seen to have done all we can; to also keep asking the right questions to ensure clear disclosure and protection of all parties to the best of our professional ability.

    May 4, 2012

    Real Estate Training - OFT puts real estate agents on notice Queensland

    Excerpt from Smart Business Bulletin (Office of Fair Trading) May 2012

    OFT has recently received a number of complaints about real estate agencies in a particular area advertising properties with incorrect or misleading information, especially regarding the suburb in which a property is located.

    A number of complaints have been investigated and agents put on notice about the consequences of breaching legislation that outlaws misrepresentation in advertising. Agents may see it as relatively harmless to advertise a property as being in a neighbouring suburb which is perceived to be more prestigious than its actual location.  In reality however, this is a clear example of misrepresentation.

    Any advertising which contains incorrect information, whether intentionally or otherwise, would constitute a breach of OFT legislation. Penalties up to $1 100 000 currently exist for corporations and $220 000 for individuals who present any false or misleading information.

    In a real estate setting there are several factors agents should keep in mind when advertising:

    • An agent must take reasonable steps to find out or verify the facts material to the lease or sale to avoid error, omission, exaggeration or misrepresentation.
    • An agent must encourage their client (the seller) to disclose all relevant facts about the property.
    • If an agent has information about detrimental features of the property they are engaged to sell, the agent is required to disclose this information to prospective buyers.
    • An agent is guilty of misrepresentation if they wilfully conceal a material fact about a property, such as a previous flooding.
    • An agent must not make misleading statements about the layout of a property.
    • An agent must not give the impression to buyers that a property in located in one suburb when clearly it is not.

    OFT has written to over 70 agents in the area in question alerting them to this final point and the potential consequences of being found to have breached the legislation.

    OFT will continue to monitor this issue and not hesitate to investigate likely cases of misrepresentation where they become apparent.

    May 3, 2012

    QCAT Case - tenant claim of $370 594.19

    Upon my daily reading of QCAT decisions and appeals published, the strangest one by far has been found. Multi Stock Pty Ltd and Anor v Willmore and Anor [2012] QCAT 162 involves a claim made by the agents on behalf of the lessor for $10475.13 for rent, damages, cleaning and chemicals for the pool.

    The tenant counter claimed first at $25 000 then up to an amazing amount of $370 594.16!
    Much of this claim centred around mould issues.

    The decision handed down was for the tenants to pay the lessor $5650.

    This case is a recommended read and very detailed in findings. Members can find the case at the Member drop box site (search mould $5650) or email Stacey Holt direct to receive via email.

    Non members can download the case from

    May 1, 2012

    Real Estate Training - Property Management (QCAT)

    Property Management Excellence Training
    Brisbane 6th June 2012 

    QCAT – what we all must know

    Stacey Holt, Company Director of Real Estate Excellence will present this comprehensive workshop covering the key areas of QCAT that all licensees and property managers should be aware of. Given there are in excess of 80 published decisions and appeals to date, understanding QCAT and its processes is paramount to all agencies.

     The session will include the following;

    ·        QCAT main forms including Form 2 and Form 8 – example Form 2 for urgent and non-urgent application will be provided

    ·        What is a counter application and why understanding this is so important

    ·        What is an urgent and non-urgent application?

    ·        Time frames for lodgement of application

    ·        A case study of a published decision and an appeal

    ·        Understanding appeals and how to make application

    ·        Understanding precedent law

    ·        Understanding hearings are recorded and what this means for possible risk management

    ·        Many tips on how to present effectively – with knowledge and preparation are power!

    ·        Plus more!
    For more information, please visit