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News and insights: What’s been happening in the Australian real estate industry

Seller’s Disclosure Regime to be introduced as part of new Queensland Property Law Bill 2023

It was announced in October that the Queensland Government passed the Property Law Bill 2023, which will bring a range of changes to Queensland law and replace the Property Law Act 1974. A date for the Bill to come into effect is yet to be determined.

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) provided further details about the new law, explaining that the introduction of a mandatory Seller’s Disclosure Regime will be relevant to Queensland real estate professionals. The regime is specific to residential and commercial property sales, with sellers required to provide a disclosure statement and prescribed certificates to a prospective buyer before a contract of sale is signed. This ensures buyers have appropriate information about a property before moving forward with the purchase.

How does this impact real estate agents?
  • Real estate agents will be responsible for preparing and exchanging these documents on behalf of the property seller.

  • Disclosure documents must meet specific requirements when being prepared. If disclosure documents are not provided correctly or there is an error relating to a matter the buyer was not aware of before agreeing to the sale, the buyer may be able to terminate the contract of sale before settlement.

You can read the statement from the Queensland Government regarding the law changes here.

The effect of cybercrime on the property industry

According to Scamwatch, $455.4 million was lost to scams last year and the real estate industry has become a prime target due to the transfer of large funds. One such example was reported by 9News last month when a young couple lost $5,000 in a rental scam. The couple were successful in applying for a new rental property, however when paying the bond, additional fees were also requested. The lack of communication from the property manager after the funds had been paid raised concerns for the victims, which led to the discovery that the email chain had been intercepted by hackers.

Key findings in the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD): Annual Cyber Threat Report

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) released its Annual Cyber Threat Report in November, which identified that email compromise and business email compromise (BEC) fraud were the top types of cybercrime that impacted businesses between 2022 – 2023. It’s become increasingly evident that everyday businesses now require additional security measures to avoid the financial loss that can be a repercussion of BEC fraud.

What does this mean for real estate agents?

Hackers are continuously advancing their tactics in intercepting property professionals’ emails and manipulating account information, therefore it’s essential to take a proactive approach to completing property transactions in a cyber safe way. Platforms like Securexchange play a fundamental role in safeguarding transactions from external threats by providing a secure workspace for all parties in a sale to connect and share confidential information, trust fund details and sign and exchange contracts.

Updates on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in the real estate industry

CPD requirements for real estate professionals in Australia differ across all jurisdictions. Currently only New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, and Western Australia impose mandatory CPD obligations, however the individual requirements to be met can vary substantially between states.

Potential upcoming CPD changes for Queensland property agents

A Decision Regulatory Impact Statement (DRIS) was recently released by the Queensland Government’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) outlining the enquiry into potential mandatory CPD for specific real estate professionals in Queensland. The REIQ explained that whilst the Queensland Government has started working on the law reforms, no laws have been developed and passed to make changes to the CPD regulations currently in place.

The DRIS and a guide for property agents can be accessed here, which expresses the introduction of mandatory CPD in Queensland would increase the professional standards for property agents and reduce harm to consumers and the real estate industry. The REIQ has identified the DRIS report is proposing real estate professionals complete two CPD sessions annually:

  • One CPD session derived from the national property services training package, a ‘CPD version’.

  • One session from an approved list.
Western Australia Government announces mandatory CPD requirements for real estate professionals to be halved

The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) has reported  that the State Government recently announced that mandatory real estate industry CPD points will be halved from 2026. The current annual CPD requirement for real estate professionals in Western Australia is 10 CPD points. When the proposed CPD changes come into effect from 2026, only 5 CPD points will be required for professionals annually.

The full Government report can be viewed here.

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