The South Australian Government has proposed the introduction of a registration system for managers of residential properties in a bid to help get rid of unprofessional or dodgy operators.
Proposed changes will include the development of a Code of Conduct for the real estate industry which would only apply to people who are employed by a registered land agent, not those with a less formal arrangement such as managing a residential property for a relative.
This is in addition to the current system which requires commercial property managers to be registered as a land agent or sales representative under the Land Agents Act, but the requirement does not extend to the residential property sector.
Consumer and Business Services Minister, John Rau, says that these changes – if they are enforced – will be important to ensure that those in the industry are held to clear standards.
“Tenants should be able to rent, and landlords rent out a property, secure in the knowledge that a qualified, professional property manager will act properly,” said the Minister.
“The proposed changes will offer better protection to both tenants and landlords. The Code of Conduct will ensure the industry is held to a clear, high standard.
“We will work with industry on what training managers might require, how standards will be set and enforced and how the scheme should be implemented.”
The government has said that the proposed changes are in response to demand with the State’s Consumer and Business Services watchdog receiving around 180 calls a month from tenants, property managers and landlords. All of which relating to either inadequate service or alleged inappropriate or poor behaviour from a property manager.
Two examples include allegations of stolen and/or misapplied trust money of $25,000 and over $70,000.
In both cases the alleged offenders were residential property managers and Consumer and Business Services could only pursue a prosecution case against their employer, not the individual.
The State Government will consult the industry and the private sector on the proposal before releasing a draft Bill and Code of Conduct for public comment in the first quarter of 2017.
Extending the regulatory system to residential property management and the development of a Code of Conduct will bring South Australia into line with other states and territories.
Greg Hansen from the Real Estate Training College says that there is no need for those in the industry to stress just yet as the changes – if they are made – will take time to be enforced.
“[After the draft Bill and Code of Conduct]…Outcomes need to be legislated, which all takes time, and it is most likely there will be a 12 month period for introduction,” said Mr Hansen.
Michael Williams, who is a Residential Leasing Manager at Refined Real Estate, also says that there are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to these proposed changes.
“The likely costs associated will be the initial training accreditation course conducted by institutions like REISA or The Real Estate Training College,” said Mr Williams.
“But it us unknown yet what educational requirements need to be studied so the length or depth of the accreditation is also yet unknown which would reflect on the cost to complete it.”
Mr Williams believes that there are a number of positives that could come from this proposed change if it becomes reality.
“The introduction of licensing of property managers will give us and the industry more credibility and accountability,” said Mr Williams.
“I believe it shows that we are serious about the job we do and that we want to ensure our landlords and tenants have more confidence in what we do and how we conduct ourselves.”
Mr Williams also believes that if used smartly, these changes can help businesses when it comes to marketing.
“Being able to promote yourself as registered or licensed along with your other achievements, such as awards, can only strengthen your worthiness as reputable leaders in the Industry,” said Mr Williams.
“Clients want to know that you are doing everything you can to be better than good at your job.”
Brought to you by…