New property management reform provisions

New changes for the real estate sector commenced 30 April 2018.

New laws require all property managers to be registered by 28 September 2019. Consumer and Business Services (CBS) will start receiving applications from 1 February 2019.

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From 30 April 2018 new reforms saw changes to the real estate sector –

  • Property manager
    The law now defines the role of a property manager and includes further provisions relating to the indemnity fund and disciplinary action.  The requirement for a property manager to be registered will commence 28 September 2019.
  • Increased penalties
    Unregistered sales representatives may face penalties up to $20,000. Agents who fail to ensure that their ‘trainee’ employees are properly supervised may face penalties up to $10,000.
  • Trust accounts
    Existing offences relating to the inappropriate deposit or withdrawal of trust account monies will apply to all persons, not just registered land agents.  Further, a new offence will be introduced for any person that causes a defalcation, misappropriation or misapplication of trust account monies.  Penalties of up to $100,000 and /or five years imprisonment may apply.  The new penalty is measured in contrast to existing maximum penalties available to South Australia Police for the same misconduct.
  • Trainees
    Trainees are required to be under ‘direct’ supervision.  This seeks to clarify existing best practice and ensure the trainee registration is operating as intended; a temporary pathway to full registration to minimise any barrier to employment.  This requirement for ‘direct’ supervision applies to trainee sales representatives, in addition to trainee property managers when registration is introduced next year.
  • Prosecutions
    CBS will be empowered to commence prosecution proceedings within five years of an alleged offence, without requiring Ministerial approval.

CBS will also be seeking to limit the ‘trainee’ registration to 12 months.  This is anticipated to commence from September 2019 and ‘trainees’ are encouraged to complete the required training to upgrade to a full registration before then.