As most of you should be aware, with the commencement of the new Property and Stock Agents Act 2002 on Monday 23 March 2020, a new set of Supervision Guidelines has been issued for the Licensee-in-Charge of an agency. One of the items that has been added to the Guidelines are rules for fraud prevention and identification verification.
As and from the 23rd March 2020, a principal licensee must prepare and maintain written procedures for the verification of the identity of a party with whom it is proposed to enter an agency agreement.
NSW Fair Trading have always expected that an agent should verify the identity of their vendors and their landlords but have not previously provided in the legislation what standard of verification has been required. Going forward, all agents will need to sight and retained a copy of the evidence that they have sighted the following:
1. A primary Proof of Identity document, being:
a. a current Australian driver’s licence, or
b. a current photo card issued by a State or Territory Government agency, or
c. a current Australian passport, or
d. a current non-Australian passport.
2. Two secondary Proof of Identity documents being:
a. a current Medicare card, or
b. a current credit card, or
c. a current passbook or an account statement from a bank, building society or credit union up to one year old, or
d. an electoral enrolment card or evidence of enrolment not more than two years old, or
e. a gas, electricity or council rates bill up to one year old, or
f. a water rates notice up to one year old.
3. A document that is proof of ownership being:
a. the certificate of title for the property, or
b. a current council rates notice up to one year old, or
c. a land valuation notice up to one year old, or
d. a National Vendor Declaration concerning the relevant livestock.
If the person who is engaging the agent is not the registered owner of the property, for example if they have Power of Attorney or are the executor to an estate, the original or a certified copy of the document which confers the power of sale or management on that person must be sighted, and a copy of the document must be retained.
Basically, the NSW Fair Trading table details the requirements that form part of the Residential Tenancy Agreement, (as seen in the standard form agreement included in the NSW Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019), that the agent (on behalf of the landlord) must indicate on the tenancy agreement the following:
And the final point to note is that if there is no mortgage on the property, written confirmation of the power of sale or management is sought from all registered owners listed on the title. If this is not possible, a record must be kept by the agency detailing the reasonable attempts made to verify the ownership and the right of the party engaging the services of the agency without the consent of the other party.
It is now time for your agency to get their processes correct and to ensure that the identity of both landlords and vendors are being correctly verified and the information is stored correctly to meet all privacy principles that are set out by the legislation.
Purchase the ACOP Supervision Guidelines Performa – https://acop.edu.au/supervision-guidelines/