New requirements for general trust accounts

23 Dec 2014

From next year, all general trust accounts will need a Unique Identifying Number, which can be obtained from the NSW OneGov Government Licensing Service website.

This change, under the Property, Stock and Business Agents Regulation 2014, will support NSW Fair Trading officers in monitoring accounts and safeguarding consumer funds.

To be issued a Unique Identifying Number for an account you intend to open from 1 January 2015, visit the Property & Real Estate – NSW OneGov page. You can then present this to an Authorised Deposit-Taking Institution to open the account. For existing general trust accounts, access the OneGov site to obtain a Unique Identifying Number for each by no later than 30 June 2015. This can also be presented to the Authorised Deposit-Taking Institution to register the account.

This only applies to general trust accounts. Separate trust accounts – kept on the instructions of a client to whom those funds belong, or opened for the exclusive benefit of buyer and seller of land – are exempt from these new requirements.

For further details visit the NSW Fair Trading Trust accounts page.

Industry has been given extra time to comply with the requirement in the Regulation to include a commissions payable warning in agency agreements. The warning will help highlight to consumers (property and business sellers) if a commission is payable even if they pull out of the sale.

From 1 March 2015, the following amended warning should appear immediately after the term in the agency agreement referring to the commission payable and be as prominent as the term in the agreement.

Warning: The term immediately above provides that a commission is payable under this agreement even if the sale of the property is not completed.

The new commencement date, amended warning and ‘prominence requirement’ follows further consultation with industry and the NSW Fair Trading Minister’s approval of the Property, Stock and Business Agents Amendment (Miscellaneous) Regulation 2014 , published on 16 December on the NSW Legislation website.

The amendment Regulation also clarifies arrangements for existing general trust accounts referred to above, without making any changes to those arrangements.

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