Articles in Category: Member Update

Contents of Real Estate Excellence Member update - emailed to members the first week of each month plus loaded online in the Member updates folder.


Carpet cleaning and Queensland property management

Pets and pest control information; Real Estate Excellence member offices, please refer to the February 2018 Member Update or email us to receive.

Friday 8th June 2018

Good morning Real Estate Excellence members, a quick update (so much going on for you, sorry!). 
I have written to the RTA as shown below regarding carpets and pets, pool chemicals and more. I shall advise when I know more via the Real Estate Excellence FB Member group  and email as not all members of course are on social media and or not in this group.

Tuesday 5th June 2018

A best practice email/letter template to retract carpet cleaning special terms (as per advice from RTA training video) is now available for members at folder 6 carpet cleaning (property management/PME main folder), plus templates to assist members in advising and educating lessors.  login to member online to access or email us to receive. An email was sent to Platinum PME and Platinum non PME Member offices on 7th June 2018 with resources as per above.

Monday 4th June 2018

Click here to view training video from the RTA regarding special terms

 Property managers/owners often include carpet cleaning under special terms in a tenancy agreement to ensure a rental property is up to standard when the tenant vacates.

These special terms typically concern the obligations and responsibilities of a property manager/owner and tenant under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act).

However, while carpet cleaning is not specifically referred to in the Act, the inclusion of a special term regarding carpet cleaning is not necessary, as carpet cleaning should be considered in terms of general rules around the standard and condition of a rental property.

Under section 188 (4) of the Act, the key phrase relating to tenants’ obligations is “as far as possible, in the same condition they were in at the start of the tenancy, fair wear and tear excepted”.

At the commencement of a tenancy, the standard or condition carpets are in should be clearly articulated through the Entry Condition Report with any evidence (i.e. photographs) attached.

The tenant, when exiting the tenancy, can then comply with their own obligations to clean the carpets to the same standard, fair wear and tear excepted.

If a special term states that a tenant must provide a receipt or engage a ‘professional’, it is a breach of section 171 of the Act (supply of goods and services). Tenants cannot be required to buy, or agree to buy goods or services from the property manager/owner or a person nominated by the property manager/owner.

For more information around tenancy and responsibilities, explore the RTA website or contact the RTA direct on 1300 366 311.

The RTA is a Queensland Government statutory authority that administers the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008. We provide tenancy information, bond management, dispute resolution, investigations and prosecutions, and policy and education services.

Sourced from www.rta.qld.gov.au May 28 2018

RTA increases its prosecutions

RTA increases its prosecutions

 

The Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) has significantly ramped up investigations and increased the number of prosecutions and Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) issued to property managers/owners.

Over the past year, the RTA has initiated more PINs and prosecutions than ever before due to a pattern of re-offending and disregard for compliance requirements. The majority of these investigations involved real estate agents, landlords or property owners, with only a very small number involving tenants.

However, not all investigations required a PIN to be issued or full prosecution, as investigations can be resolved or finalised in a range of ways, including education, before they reach prosecution. PINs have increased by 700 per cent compared to previous years, with more than 300 per cent resulting in legal proceedings.

Director for Policy and Stakeholder Engagement Meghan Hibbert said the RTA expected a high level of compliance, especially from property managers. “Lodging a bond, entering a premises lawfully and exercising your obligations in relation to providing documentation are the basic rules of property management, yet we have no shortage of investigations where breaches have occurred. Ignorance of the law is not acceptable as an excuse.”

There are some 200 offences contained in the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008  (the Act), with 125 of those being prosecutable. Some of the more frequently prosecuted offences include failing to lodge rental bonds with the RTA within 10 days of receipt, providing false or misleading information to the RTA, unlawful entry to a rented property and contracting out of the Act’s requirements.

“It is unfortunate that we are seeing one of the most serious breaches of the Act all too often, which involves many tenancy agreements containing unlawful special terms. Breaches include ‘contracting out’ of requirements under the Act, or the provision of a particular service as a condition of the tenancy,” Meghan said.

Meghan said that agents must ensure they are completing forms and documentation correctly, and fully. “Documentation is key, and the RTA will consider prosecuting individuals or companies found to have provided false and misleading information to the RTA,” she said.

“If found guilty a criminal conviction may be recorded by the court, and this could impact an agent personally, such as when renewing their licence or other areas of their life. These offences carry significant fines with penalties up to $3,000 for individuals and $10,000 for companies.”

This process is separate to any related QCAT matter. If a corporation is being prosecuted, the maximum penalty is five times what it is for an individual. Fines can amount to tens of thousands of dollars.

“There is a common misconception among some real estate agents that offences under the Act are civil matters,” Meghan said. “The RTA would like to make it clear that these matters are criminal offences that are prosecuted through the Magistrates Court to either a plea of guilty or a summary trial in which the rules of evidence apply.

“It is critical that anyone found to have been issued with a penalty notice or received notification of legal proceedings in relation to an offence under the Act seek legal advice from a criminal lawyer.”

Sourced from www.rta.qld.gov.au 28 May 2018

Carpet cleaning and property management (QLD) Read important information here

 

 

Queensland agency fined by the RTA

Sourced from www.rta.qld.gov.au May 4 2018

Queensland real estate agency fined $10k with a criminal conviction recorded

A Queensland real estate agency has been criminally convicted and fined $10,000 for committing repeated offences under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act).

Coronis Realty, trading under SNA Group Pty Ltd, was convicted in the Richlands Magistrates Court on 10 April 2018.

The Court fined Coronis Realty for requiring a tenant to purchase carpet cleaning services as a condition of the tenancy agreement, and entering the tenant’s home unlawfully, including twice when only the tenant’s children were home.

A penalty of $10,000 was handed down with a criminal conviction recorded.

Magistrate Stuart Shearer drew parallels between the unlawful entries and burglary, and criticised the agent’s response to the tenant’s complaint for entering their home without adequate notice.

The agent from Coronis Realty served the tenant with a notice to remedy breach on the same day of their complaint.

“A tenant who is properly complaining about unlawful activity by the agency, to then be effectively threatened with a notice that, if uncomplied with, could see her evicted is a serious aggravating feature,” Magistrate Shearer said.

Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) Policy and Stakeholder Engagement Director Meghan Hibbert said the RTA is taking a proactive approach to enforcing compliance from tenants, property managers and owners due to an increase in multiple and repeated offences.

“Coronis Realty has been warned previously by the RTA for committing similar offences. What some people don’t realise is that offences under the Act are criminal – they can carry a conviction in addition to a significant financial penalty for companies and individuals,” Ms Hibbert said.

The RTA works with all parties involved in a tenancy to ensure they understand their rights and responsibilities to make renting work for everyone.

For more information around tenancy and responsibilities, visit the RTA website or contact the RTA direct on 1300 366 311.

The RTA is a Queensland Government statutory authority that administers the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008. We provide tenancy information, bond management, dispute resolution, investigations and prosecutions, and policy and education services.

Penalties and prosecutions under the RTRA Act Queensland

The facts about penalties and prosecutions under the RTRA Act

The following is a guide for property owners/managers in relation to the prosecution of summary offences and the use of Penalty Infringement Notices (PIN) by the RTA.

  • There are a substantial number of offences created by the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 RTRA Act. 
  • Offences under the RTRA Act constitute a criminal offence and are prosecuted in the Magistrates Court (not QCAT).
  • When the RTA substantiates that a breach of the RTRA Act has occurred, it can:
    • educate an offender on their obligations under the RTRA Act, 
    • issue a caution, 
    • issue a Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN), or 
    • list the matter for prosecution in court.
  • Offences can carry penalties of up to 80 penalty units for an individual ($10,092). 
  • The maximum penalties for a corporation are five times that of an individual.
  • The amount of the fixed fee for a PIN is a fraction of the maximum penalty applicable in the event that the matter is prosecuted through the Magistrates Court.

Sourced from www.rta.qld.gov.au March 26 2018