Fair Trading Compliance Operations are Underway

Journal,  Principals,  Salespeople

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has begun its annual education and compliance program with a focus on real estate licensees across Queensland.

The OFT conducted 17 educational visits and 78 compliance visits to licensees in the first quarter of this 2020-2021 compliance program, which will run until 30 June 2021.

This program includes both education and compliance components and aims to ensure licensees understand their obligations under the Property Occupations Act 2014 and the Agents Financial Administration Act 2014 and are complying with the law.

As a result of activities undertaken in the first quarter, 14 matters (or 18 per cent) have been referred for investigation. This is concerning when you consider that licensees are responsible for large sums of consumers’ money.

These matters include issues such as:
• Recovering or retaining a reward or expense in excess of that permitted
• Acting as an agent without being properly appointed
• Placing monies other than trust monies in trust accounts

The majority of these investigations are ongoing.

Earlier this year, OFT had a Brisbane real estate agent banned from the industry for life, as well as being fined and ordered to pay compensation of more than $80,000 for not keeping proper records, mismanaging a trust account and operating the business despite the licence having expired.

In another matter, OFT took a Springfield real estate agent to court where they were fined $2,500 and given a suspended sentence for taking trust money they were not entitled to over a seven-month period.

To help improve industry compliance and reduce situations such as these, the OFT is undertaking a number of activities as part of this compliance program including:

• trialling a new system for the early detection of trust account non-compliance

• widespread education

• engaging with agents to identify areas of concern to them and learn how we can more effectively provide information to assist them in their roles.

Real estate agents are entrusted with people’s most valuable assets and the OFT wants to help you understand what is required by law to keep these assets safe. Understanding the laws and keeping yourself informed of changes can also help you improve your bottom line. Businesses which are recognised in their communities as being responsible and ethical traders are generally rewarded with repeat customers and word-of-mouth referrals.

The OFT’s goal is a fair and safe marketplace and we look forward to working with agents to achieve a high level of industry compliance. For more information, phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68), email BrisbaneOFT@justice.qld.gov.au or visit the OFT website.

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Great training course was very informative. I feel I gained lots of knowledge and there is a lot of support from the REIQ team online, via phone and in person and am looking forward to starting my career in the real estate industry!
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I found the REIQ Real Estate Licence Online Training Course was very good, easy to access, with brilliant course materials to read and assignments that really checked on your understanding of the details of every aspect of real estate practise. I enjoyed the course even though it took a few months due to working full time and found the support of the trainers and assessors very helpful and encouraging. Thanks REIQ Training team for helping me through!
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I would like to share with you our experience that we have recently had through the REIQ Professional Development Team.We have had an awesome start to 2020 thanks to the great service provided by the REIQ Professional Development Team. Congratulations to Liz who started and finished her Certificate of Registration Course with the REIQ in December 2019. She loved the training, particularly the fact the trainers are experienced and still walk the talk and are active in real estate. Fast turnaround for marking of the assessments with help on hand by way of tutoring if needed meant she could get the Application to Office of Fair Trading for her registration happening quickly. We are thrilled, from start to finish with the course and application to Fair Trading she had her Certificate of Registration within 5 weeks. Really impressed with the training, help and support team REIQ gave Liz and the quick processing time by the Office of Fair Trading.We also regularly use the Property Management Support Service and General Agency Advice Service and believe it offers great value for our membership. The PMSS team provide practical advice by practising property management professionals who can relate to the everyday challenges property managers face.Keep up the good work Team REIQ,
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I wasnt sure that I would get through the Agents and Licence course with everything I had on, made an attempt a year ago with another provider that went totally pear shaped but the REIQ course is structured in a way that made sense. While all of their trainers are experts in their field, they offer onsite student support on Tuesdays with Rachel providing the right advice and reassurance to get you there, even if you havent studied for a while. If you've ever wanted a career in Real Estate this is where you get started!
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