The LNP government is currently focusing its legislative efforts on the bikies, but when that is over it will turn to more mundane matters.
One of those will be the creation of a specific piece of legislation for real estate and resident letting agents.
What was PAMDA (so far as it relates to real estate) will be split into the Property Occupations Act (the “POA”) and the Agents Financial Administration Act. All real estate agents will be governed by the POA.
Bear in mind that it remains a draft bill at this stage, and is not law. There will be a public consultation and then there may be changes, but changes in any substantial way are probably unlikely.
So what does it hold for the management rights industry?
Residing on site
A condition that currently attaches to any resident letting agent licence is that you must reside in a lot in the scheme for which you have body corporate approval.
Under the POA that condition is removed so you do not have to reside on site as a condition of holding a resident letting agent’s licence. What you will have to do is have body corporate approval (like it is now) and have an office in your scheme. Where you have more than one management rights business you must have an office in at least one of the schemes. It won’t matter whether the schemes are side by side (contiguous) or not.
Remember this only applies under the POA. If your management rights agreements say you have to live on site then that obligation remains.
Assignment of letting appointments
Nearly every management rights transaction has an issue with letting appointments and their assignability.
The POA provides that as long as certain notice is given to the owner of the lot within 14 days of settlement then the letting appointment is automatically assigned. There will be no need to have a specific provision in the appointment itself. The rationale for this is that owners always retain the right to terminate letting appointments, so if they don’t like the assignment, they can exercise that right.
Who needs a licence?
Company licences will remain. What will change is that as long as at least one person is licenced and carries out the activities of a resident letting agent, then the others in business will not need to be licenced. If you are individuals who own the management rights business, this will save you licence fees – assuming that the unlicenced people do not act as agents.
There are lots of other things that will change how resident letting agent operate:
- Letting appointments will always be terminable on 30 days notice – not up to 90.
- What constitutes acting as a resident letting agent is clearer.
- Leave / absence provisions are made very clear – if you are away more than 30 days in a row you need OFT approval. If you are away for more than 12 weeks in any 12 month period you need OFT approval, which cannot be granted if you are going to be absent for more than 26 weeks in any 12 month period.
How has all this come about?
It is one simple word (or acronym) – ARAMA. Ever since he started as CEO of ARAMA, Trevor Rawnsley has been talking about changes to what was PAMDA to these effects. Through his efforts, the support of the various ARAMA committees, and more importantly – members, changes have been made to legislation. If ARAMA was not in there fighting for the interests of the management rights industry, these changes would not have happened.
- This is just the start. The RTRAA is under review (try the two weeks vs two months right to terminate a tenancy as one example that affects ARAMA members), and after that we have the big one. The BCCM Act review.
- The only party at the table for any of those reviews that is looking out for the interests of those in the management rights industry is ARAMA. It needs support.
- If you are involved in the management rights industry, whether as an owner of a management rights business or a related hanger on (like us) and you aren’t a member of ARAMA then you should become one.