Trust Account AuditsMay 31, 2019
Changes to the Conveyancing ProcessJune 28, 2019
Are you (and your agency) compliant?
In an environment when regulations are determining how we operate our businesses, it is important to know what should be important in our focus, and what is simply window-dressing.
What I mean by this is, in amongst your busy lives of assisting your clients to buy, sell and manage properties, how do you prioritise what is important from a regulatory compliance perspective. Let me share what we at ACOP believe to be some of the core issues:
- Does everyone working in the agency who is involved in the providing direct customer service for the buying, selling and management of property – hold a current Certificate of Registration or Licence. This means that they hold the appropriate category of Certificate or Licence related to the role that they hold, for example, if they are selling rural land – then they require a Certificate of Registration or Licence in Stock and Station; or if they are managing strata or community title plans – then they require a Certificate of Registration or Licence in Strata Management.
- Has everyone in the agency who holds a Certificate of Registration or Licence, completed their CPD in the appropriate timeframe (ie, in the 12 months prior to their renewal date). Also, does the Licensee-In-Charge have a register of CPD for all team members for the past three years of CPD?
- Do you have the correct signage on the front door as required by Section 29 of the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 (the Act)? The correct signage should include the name of the corporation, its licence number, the name of the licensee-in-charge, all licensed agents employed in the office, and the services linked to the categories of licence held by the licensee-in-charge
- Do you have the mandatory insurances to the correct amounts?
- Do you have copies of your trust account audit reports for the past three years?
- Do you have a record of your Unique Identifying Number for your trust account?
- Do you have a policy and procedures manual?
- Do you conduct a check of your sales and/or property management files to ensure that they have all documentation, including agency agreements, correspondence with your vendor/landlord, comparable market reports at time of listing, changes to your opinion of price on sale properties.
There are so many issues (with the list above being just a start) that you need to consider in the operation of your business. Whether you are an employee or the owner of the agency, you have a role to play in the application of the legislation on a daily basis.
As agents, you have been provided with Supervision Guidelines to assist in the implementation of Section 32 of the Act in terms of properly supervising a business.
It is also essential to ensure that all agents within a business are implementing the Rules of Conduct – found in Schedules 1 and 2 of the Property, Stock and Business Agents Regulation 2014. These Rules give specific guidelines as to the behaviour of agents and what is expected on a daily basis.
If you are not aware of the Rules of Conduct, or the Supervision Guidelines or other requirements such as the Fraud Prevention Guidelines, perhaps it’s time you attended this year’s CPD with the College – as this is the core focus of all CPD sessions this year.
If you are concerned about the compliance of your office and how you would fare if Investigators from NSW Fair Trading wandered through your door for a random visit, then perhaps now is the time to have ACOP come to your office and conduct a Compliance Check. The cost of a compliance check will be much less than incurring penalty notices from Fair Trading.
IF YOU THINK COMPLIANCE IS EXPENSIVE – TRY THE EXPENSE OF NON-COMPLIANCE.