The NSW Government has announced a swag of new real estate and property industry reforms due to start on 23 March 2020, including increased qualifications for those entering the industry and ongoing training for established agents.
The reforms also affect the licensing of agents working in the industry and the roles that can be done according to each type of licence.
The entry standards for licence and certificate of registration holders have been increased, for example, a class 2 licence holder must hold their licence for at least two years, complete work experience requirements and a relevant diploma to be eligible for a class 1 licence.
Current licence and certificate of registration holders will automatically transition to the equivalent level of licence.
The government is also introducing continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for assistant agents and licensed agents to be completed annually.
Licence holders will need to undertake a minimum number of hours of CPD per year, while assistant agents will need to complete at least three competency units from a Certificate IV qualification each year to ensure they are eligible to apply for the relevant class 2 licence.
Overall, the licensing system is undergoing a significant restructure, with licences and certificates of registration in three categories: real estate (with or without restrictions), stock and station, and strata management.
The current real estate agent, business agent and on-site residential property manager licences are being rolled into the real estate agent’s licence category.
Under the new unrestricted real estate agent’s licence, an agent can operate as a business agent, on-site residential property manager, and real estate sale or leasing functions.
The government is also introducing three licence levels determined by the applicant’s qualifications and experience in the sector.
The levels are: certificate of registration as an assistant agent, class 2 licence as a licensed agent, and class 1 licence as a licensed agent or licensee in charge of a business.
New entrants to the industry will need to obtain a certificate of registration as an assistant agent and perform entry-level roles while they obtain the qualifications and experience necessary to become a fully licensed agent.
An agent will have different functions they can carry out, depending on their level of licence, or if they hold a certificate of registration.
The new reforms also cover disclosure facts to prospective buyers, specifying what an agent should reasonably know and must disclose, including asbestos, flood and fire history, murder scenes and drug houses.
You can read a detailed rundown of the law reforms here.
The NSW Government is also introducing changes to tenancy laws from 23 March 2020, designed to increase protection for tenants, clarify the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords, and reduce disputes over repairs and maintenance.
Key changes include minimum standards for a property to be determined ‘fit for habitation’, landlord responsibility for smoke alarms, making it easier for tenants to do minor renovations, and limiting rent increases to once every 12 months.
You can read all the tenancy law changes here.