The Reforms changed training, licensing and business practises, as well as supervision requirements. There has been a lot of conjecture as to whether the reforms would be repealed with the current crisis. Due to the nature of the changes, and the significantly different requirements for agencies, this is not the case at this time.
The statement of intent provided by Fair Trading sets out how they will be administering the Reforms. In summary, for the first six months Fair Trading will be looking to provide an educative approach to assist in compliance. This means that in certain circumstances Fair Trading, at its discretion, will provide guidance rather than penalties.
This does not remove the responsibility of agencies to be compliant, and there are situations where Fair Trading will retain the right to take enforcement action against an agency, especially where the regulation did not change as part of the latest reforms. These include, but are not limited to:
- unlicensed trading (sections 8, 9 and 10 of the Act)
- fraud and false accounts of money received (sections 211 and 212 of the Act)
- misrepresentations generally (section 52 of the Act)
- underquoting (Part 5, Division 3 of the Act)
- failure to arrange for annual audit of the agency’s trust accounts (section 111 of Act)
- failure to hold professional indemnity insurance (section 22 of Act).
Our advice is do not take the risk. While honest mistakes or misunderstandings will possibly be viewed that way, why put yourself and your business in a position where it may get penalised? This undertaking by Fair Trading is for the Reforms, not the Regulation in relation to Residential Tenancies.
If you require training, compliance checks, or any other training available, please contact EAC’s training partner, Australian College of Professionals on firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be able to assist, or go to www.acop.edu.au and check out their online courses.