July 29, 2012

Real Estate Excellence Member Update 2012

Contents of the August Real Estate Excellence Member Update
Page Number
Member Update
·        Tenant advisory services lose government funding
·        Property Management Excellence Convention 2012
·        PME
·        Training events being held in August and September
·        New online training registration
4 and 5
Licensee/Administration Best Practice
·        Growing the rent roll - your greatest asset (after your staff)

Residential Sales Best Practice
·        Seller  Disclosure – best practice updated document

9 and 10
Residential Property Management Best Practice
·        Solar panels, charging tenants and rental property

11 and 12

This update has been posted to the Members dropbox site, the Member group on Facebook and shall be emailed to members on the 30th July 2012.

Membership enquiry? www.realestateexcellence.com.au
options range from only $11 to $44 per week including GST

Why losing the tenant advisory services is not a good outcome for the real estate and property industry

Why losing the tenant advisory services in Queensland is not a good outcome for the Real Estate and Property Industry

Tenant advisory services lose Government funding

It was a great shock to many to read the Queensland Government announcement on Tuesday 24th July 2012 that funding will be cut to tenancy advisory services in Queensland.

Whilst some in the industry celebrated the announcement due to past or recent questionable dealings with some advocacy workers, Real Estate Excellence encourages the industry to take a deep breath and pause before popping the champagne.

Any industry has its ‘bad eggs’; and of course consumers can spend a great deal of time sharing bad experiences with some companies or organisations in general.

Firstly, it is hard to not agree in essence with the Government intentions regarding redirecting the funding of some $20 million to social housing. The question is can some of those funds still be directed into tenancy advisory services? Real Estate Excellence believes the tenancy advice services are a necessary service for the real estate industry. It must be said that the funds provided to the advisory services are not tax payers money; they are funds from the interest earned from tenants bonds held in trust with the RTA (Residential Tenancies Authority) which currently stands at $639.7 million dollars.

 (May 2012 – RTA www.rta.qld.gov.au)

The Government are stating that the RTA will fill the void left by the tenancy advice services. The latest RTA statistics (May 2012) show that the number of calls received per day to the Authority is 1341 with the monthly average being 29 498 calls.

It of course would be envisaged (and hoped) that the RTA will be recruiting more staff at the call centre to field the additional calls that will come in from tenants seeking advice and support services.

The further concern is that the RTA does not traditionally provide ‘advice’ which is what the tenant services provide; they provide general information.

One of the many concerns regarding this change of funding by the Government is the possible impact on disputes and tribunal. Tribunal waiting periods are already staggering in some areas of Queensland. The RTA statistics from May 2012 state that averages of 93 Form 16 dispute resolution requests are received daily with the monthly average being 2037. Will this increase?

Another concern is the possibly of change of legislation in the medium to long term future to correct what may be seen as a perceived or real imbalance between the parties to the tenancy contract (agreement). This will impact the real estate and property industry greatly given the amount of regulation already imposed.

Real Estate Excellence believes that it won’t take too long for the real estate industry to feel the impact of the loss of the tenancy advisory services.

Tenant program closed to pay for new public housing

The Newman Government will discontinue the Tenant Advice and Advocacy Service (TAAS) program as part of continued efforts to accommodate the 30,000 Queensland households currently waiting for social housing.

Housing and Public Works Minister Dr Bruce Flegg said his first priority was ensuring all available funds were channelled to the area of greatest need.

“The program has been jointly funded by the Queensland Government and the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) for a number of years and has received more than $20 million over the past four years,” Dr Flegg said.

“We can put this money to better and more direct use by building more social and affordable housing across Queensland.

“The former Government left Queensland with a debt heading towards $100 billion and a public housing system with no money to build houses.

“While it would be nice to be able to continue to fund programs like the TAAS, our primary focus needs to be on the core business of putting roofs over people’s heads.”

Dr Flegg said all current contractual obligations with the 23 affected community and local government organisations would be met as the program was wound down and that tenants would still be able to access information services through the RTA.

“I would like to thank all the community organisations and councils that have been involved with the Tenant Advice and Advocacy Service.”

(c) www.realestateexcellence.com.au

July 21, 2012

Property Management Excellence Convention 2012

Property Management Excellence Convention

This one day special event designed specifically for Property Managers with all facets of experience, from one week in Property Management to twenty years. The convention is guaranteed to help you, your career and your agency.

Stacey Holt – Company Director, Real Estate Excellence Academy – Knowledge is Power – but what does that mean in reality and how can it help me in property management?
Panel – First class ‘ordinary’ property managers doing an extraordinary job – what do they do?
Technology in property management – Will it save time and how does it make property management easier?
Negotiation skills – How do I negotiate with existing lessors but also negotiate to help win ‘new business’?  
Where is our industry heading? – An overview of where we have been, where we are and a crystal ball moment as to where we should be heading

  The convention is suitable for Property Managers outside of Queensland

July 18, 2012

Tips on growing the rent roll - Property Management Training

I receive enquiries on a regular basis from licensees regarding consultancy/training services on ways to ‘grow the rent roll’.

Before quoting or delivering this service, I always endeavour to find out how the foundations are in the agency first. There is of course no point putting a plan of action in place to grow a rent roll without ensuring that the foundation of the property management department is sound and running proactively.

Some property management departments have daily reactive chaotic management systems in place. I believe that all property management departments always have a sense of ‘chaos’, however the question is the chaos uncontrolled reactive or chaos controlled proactive? If the case is the latter of chaos uncontrolled reactive, then there is no point in my professional opinion throwing away valuable time and good money trying to grow the rent roll.

I am a firm believer that ensuring the basics of property management are in place, staff needs are catered for (such as training, systems and support are in place) and a general proactive day to day flow brings natural growth. It is imperative for any business to maintain their current business first, prior to looking for more business.

I have worked with many great property managers and business development managers who do a sensational job in bringing in new business, to only have the existing clients leave due to dissatisfaction. When your agency is losing more business than what you are bringing in on a monthly basis, there most likely is something wrong with the foundation.

There is generally one main reason most landlords leave agencies; a perceived or true perception of lack of communication. Most licensees and property managers fully understand that communication is the key to success in property management. Property management is all about people; property is secondary.

A client of mine said the other day that property management is easy if you have the right systems in place. I could not agree more. The art of property management is challenging only because of the people; not the actual day to day management and systems.

Prior to embarking on spending good money and valuable time on ‘building the rent roll’, ensure your systems, staffing, training and support mechanisms are in place.
(c) www.realestateexcellence.com.au

July 13, 2012

Man charged over pool death

A SUNSHINE Coast lawyer has issued a warning to pool owners after a man was charged with manslaughter for not adequately fencing his pool.

The 61-year-old was watching television in his Armidale home when a two year old little boy from next door, wandered into his backyard and found his way into the pool and subsequently drowned.

Following a two month investigation, police charged the man with manslaughter last week and he has been ordered to appear in Armidale court next month.

It is understood that the man is the first person to be charged with manslaughter for not having a properly installed and maintained a pool fence.

Travis Schultz, managing partner at Schultz Toomey O'Brien Lawyers said "This is a sad situation all round. These parents have lost their only child in what is a preventable and tragic accident and this aged grandfather is now facing very serious criminal charges. Both families' lives will be impacted forever."

"We are all aware that if we have a pool we have a legal obligation to ensure that pool is fenced and that the fencing is maintained to prevent such tragedies from occurring.

New pool safety laws introduced in 2009 aim to reduce the incidences of drowning and serious immersion injuries of young children in swimming pools.

These laws affect new and existing pools.

Pool owners have until 30 November 2015 to comply with the new pool safety laws, or earlier if they sell or lease their property before this time.

"With the warmer months just around the corner it is a timely reminder to check your pool fencing and ensure you are complying with the laws which require all pools to be fenced and maintained to a specific standard,'' Mr Schultz said.

"Having a pool fence that is in need of repair is simply not worth the risk"

source www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au 11th July 2012


Mid July 2012 Real Estate Excellence Member Update

The following information is what is included in the Real Estate Excellence Member Update for Mid July 2012.

The Update will be posted on the Members group plus emailed to all Members on Monday 16th July 2012.

For more information about Membership, please visit www.realestateexcellence.com.au

Member Update
·        Compliance tips for resident letting agents and real estate agents from the Office of Fair Trading
·        Person charged with manslaughter over non-compliant pool
·        Landlord information update – Curtain and blind laws (attached to email)
·        Dad and partner laws
Licensee/Administration Best Practice
·          In the event of a claim being made against your agency
Residential Sales Best Practice
·        Title searches – when are they carried out?
Residential Property Management Best Practice
·        Recent QCAT decision and reminder about calculation of notice periods

July 5, 2012

Compliance tips for agents from Office of Fair Trading Queensland

Compliance tips for resident letting agents and real estate agents

Real estate agents, residential letting agents, auctioneers and commercial agents must establish and maintain a trust account that complies with the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000 (the Act). A key requirement of the Act is for trust accounts to be audited and a report lodged with OFT within strict time limits.

While most auditors do the right thing, OFT has noted some auditors are failing to correctly address key requirements in their report. OFT has concerns about the standard and content of some trust account audit reports being lodged. This is a reminder of auditor responsibilities and requirements under the Act.

Enforcement action for licensees who breach the Act may include:

  • infringement notices of up to $400
  • prosecution in a magistrate’s court or the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The most common infringement issued is for licensees failing to lodge their audit report with the Chief Executive within the prescribed timeframes. Visit the OFT website for timeframes. 

For a residential letting agent, the PAMD Form 20a should state the amount of any commission or benefit the agent may receive in relation to ALL expenses incurred on behalf of an owner, including but not limited to:

  • repairs
  • maintenance
  • pay television
  • cleaning and linen.

The commission or benefit must be agreed to by the owner and can be expressed
as a percentage or dollar value.

To ensure transparency in operations, it is essential for agents (both real estate and residential letting) to remember that trust money is not available to the licensee’s creditors. All trust money must remain in the trust account until it is legally allowed to be paid out under the Act.

Detailed information on licence requirements and compliance for residential letting agents and real estate agents can be found on the OFT website - www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au

This information has been sourced directly from the July edition of the Smart Business Bulletin - www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au

July 4, 2012

Property Management Training Queensland - Key factors when processing tenancy applications

All prospective tenancy applicants must complete the best practice application form. Applicants must also provide 100 point identification, proof of income, personal references and proof of previous living arrangements. Agencies should ensure that receptionists are also trained in this procedure.

The applicant’s details must be verified as part of the application processing process. Property managers are seeking on behalf of the lessor sound evidence of the following;

·        Tenants ability to pay for the rent

·        Tenants ability to care for the property

Part of PME Chapter 5 - for more information about the Property Management Excellence Training and Procedures Manual, visit www.realestateexcellence.com.au

PME can be tailored to suit your agency needs - only need a chapter or a few? Talk to Stacey Holt about how PME can be personalised to suit your agency.

July 2, 2012

Real Estate Excellence July 2012 Member Update

 The following information outlines the topics covered in the Real Estate Excellence July 2012 Member Update which will be emailed to all Member Tuesday 3rd July.

If you are interested in Membership, please visit www.realestateexcellence.com.au

Member Update
·        New member benefit – positions vacant advertising
·        Sustainability declaration
·        Training and Procedures Manual – Property Management PME
Licensee/Administration Best Practice
·        The PAMD Form 20a – is your agency complying?
Residential Sales Best Practice
·        Marketing schedules and payments
Residential Property Management Best Practice
·        Let only and Multi Listing appointments

July 1, 2012

Property Management Training Queensland - The management agreement

The Management Agreement is the most important document in property management. The agreement is required in law to be in writing and the approved form set by Government must be used. If there is no management agreement, there is no entitlement to commission at law plus the agency is placed at great risk. It is also imperative that the agreement is in fact completed correctly. Attention to detail is paramount in property management; particularly in regards to the management agreement. 

If a lessor does not want to sign a management agreement or has not signed a management agreement, property managers must not carry out any tasks on their behalf. It is illegal to do so plus it is not sound risk management. Advise the lessor that it is against the law to carry out any services on their behalf without a management agreement in place

Part of Chapter 3 of PME - Property Management Excellence Procedures and Training Manual for Queensland Property Managers. For more information, visit www.realestateexcellence.com.au

Property Management Training Queensland - Safety Switches in rental property

It has been a requirement in Queensland since March 2008 that all rental properties have a safety switch installed to the power circuit of the property. Property managers are not to verify that safety switches are in place; whilst it may be evident upon a visual inspection that a safety switch is in a meter box, verification cannot be provided by a property managers that it is actually is a safety switch, that the safety switch is live or if it is in fact linked to the power points which is required by law.

Only an electrician can verify that the safety switch is compliant and in sound working order. Advise the lessor that an electrician will have to confirm before the property can be rented If the lessor cannot verify and clearly disclose that a compliant safety switch is in their investment property.  If the lessor asks why the property manager can’t do this, explain due to risk management and for the above reasons.  
Above is an extract from Chapter 3 of PME - Property Management Excellence Training and Procedures Guide for Queensland Property Managers. For more information about PME, visit www.realestateexcellence.com.au