We should all be aware by now that the Office of Fair Trading and the Minister for Fair Trading are contemplating significant changes to the industry. These changes will be more influential than the amendments of 1 September 2003. It’s not quite Armageddon, but the way agents manage their workforce will significantly change.

Leverage wants to focus here, on the impact on the operations of your sales team. New laws will affect the industry significantly, and could almost act to sterilize your sales team.

Fair Trading are focused on the increased requirements of education. Certificates of Registration will increase from four units of competency to seven units of competency. Yes, this will be more work, but it won’t change what the person does when you join the industry. In fact, it may act as a deterrent to good people who give up successful careers to seek a sea change in the Real Estate industry. Close door policies don’t always help.

One of the recommendations in the consulting paper published by Fair Trading indicated they wished to alter the functions that could be carried out by each category of accreditation. If you were unaware, there are three levels of accreditation offered:

  • Certificate of Registration;
  • Individual License; and
  • Licensee in Charge.

One of the proposals is that the activities permitted by to the certificate of registration holder will alter significantly. Certificate holders will be prohibited from carrying on the following functions:

  • Executing agency agreements;
  • Executing managing agency agreements;
  • Exchanging contracts; and
  • Executing residential tenancy agreements on behalf of landlords.

Certificate holders will be just apprentices within the industry. They will be given four years to get a licence or be struck out of the industry. Their functions for an agency will be simply to take enquiries, do presentations, publish advertising, do open houses and essentially act as a personal assistant to a sales person.

The certificate holder was once the lifeblood of the real estate agency. They carried out all the functions of a sales person whilst not having the obligations of a licensee. To obtain any potency from your sales team they will all have to obtain a licence. Essentially, overnight, Fair Trading will give your sales team a vasectomy, making them impotent to do anything other than the merest of tasks. Considering that it takes six weeks for the department to give you a licence and all your people will have to undertake studies to obtain a licence, if you are not amendment ready, you may have a number of persons who are definitely not firing bullets as a real estate agent. Get yourself and your agency ready!

This article was written by Bailey Compton, Principal Solicitor & Director at Leverage Group.

To get in touch with Bailey, please email info@leveragegroup.com.au or call 1300 438 538