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.


Best practice natural disaster guide for Queensland property managers

Trust account theft - case studies and risk management

Save your money, save your business

Sourced from the January 2017 Office of Fair Trading Smart Business Bulletin.

Employee fraud cases involving real estate trust accounts are under scrutiny by the Financial Investigations Unit of the Office of Fair Trading. Poor business practices and a lack of supervision can create environments in which dishonest employees use a variety of methods to steal from employers. The two main areas of risk include:

  • cash handling procedures
  • purchases and accounts payable.

Fraudulent activity may result in loss of revenue, damage to credibility, public criticism along with compromising confidentiality of clients. OFT wishes to warn businesses of the potential financial consequences of such fraudulent behaviour.

Case studies examined by OFT’s financial investigators include:

  • An employed property manager, who was also a tenant through the same agency, who took rents paid by other tenants and used them to pay her own rent. The fraud cost the licensee more than $3000 in rent and bond payments, as well as a loss of reputation with the tenants and property owners.
  • An agent who was required to make good a trust account shortfall of more than $14,000 caused by an employee making phony orders for property maintenance services provided by her partner.
  • An agent who found a $200,000 shortfall in their trust account caused by an employee entering false business records and instead transferring the money to themselves.

 

Why routine inspections are carried out of rental property

Queensland legislation referenced

Extract from the QLD Property Management Excellence PME manual - chapter 9

When property managers carry out routine inspections, five matters are recommended to be concentrated on. Inspections should be visual only as property managers do not hold qualifications other than those of a property agent.

The five matters of focus are;

Future maintenance
This may include future house painting, carpet replacement, curtain replacement, driveway resurfacing.

Preventative maintenance
This may include house washing, gutter cleaning, tree lopping.

Routine maintenance
This includes routine maintenance as reported by the tenant or as identified during the inspection such as built in roller doors, kitchen hinges or matters that are routine as per section 215 of the RTRA Act.

Emergency maintenance
This includes any of the following matters are defined in section 214 of the RTRA Act. (Qld law)

Emergency repairs are works needed to repair any of the following –

  1. a burst water service or serious water service leak;
  2. a blocked or broken lavatory system;
  3. a serious roof leak;
  4. a gas leak;
  5. a dangerous electrical fault;
  6. flooding or serious flood damage;
  7. serious storm, fire or impact damage;
  8. a failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply to the premises;
  9. a failure or breakdown of an essential service or appliance on the premises for hot water, cooking or heating;
  10. a fault or damage that makes the premises unsafe or insecure;
  11. a fault or damage likely to injure a person, damage property or unduly inconvenience a resident of the premises;
  12. a serious fault in a staircase, lift or other common area of the premises that unduly inconveniences a resident in gaining access to, or using, the premises.

Is the tenant maintaining the property 
In accordance with the standard terms and special terms of the agreement plus complying with their obligations under the RTRA Act?

Real Estate Excellence Administration training

Queensland legislation

Real Estate Excellence has the following private training topics for administrators and managers. Subject to interest and feedback, many of the topics are being considered as training sessions to be held throughout Queensland in 2016.

If you and your agency would be interested in supporting the training events, please contact us  with your name, email address and area (such as Rockhampton).

 

Legislation

Legislation generally for the industry

How to find legislation

Staff training and legislation - tips on how to train staff

Legislative requirements for training staff

Property Occupations regulations - Property Occupations regulations – how the laws apply to salespeople and property managers plus the licensee

Presentation time - 2 hours

Advertising and showing property

Writing advertising copy

Advertising Price and change of price instruction

Advertising expenditure and approval

Showing property – safety and presentation

Showing property with a tenancy still in place

Vacant property reports and dealing with property that won’t sell

Buyer enquiry and working with prospective buyers

Australian consumer laws

False or misleading representations in property transactions

Presentation time – 45 minutes

The listing appointment and listing the property

Sales

The listing appointment

            Open, sole and exclusive listings (and reappointment)

            Prior appointment of another agency

            Termination of appointments

            Sales appraisals

            Sales listing sheet

            Seller disclosure statement

            Title search

            Identification of owners and setting up passwords for sellers

            Disclosure of death and other matters to prospective buyers

            Seller insurance details

            Pools and Spas

            Safety switches

            Smoke alarms

            Keys

            Preparing a property for sale

            Conjunctions

            An overview of tree and fencing laws

            Gas compliance certificates

Presentation time - 2 hours

 

Property management

 

            The Management Agreement

 

            Exclusive management agreements

 

Assignment of appointment

 

            Termination of management agreements

 

            Prior appointment of another agency

 

            Let only and multi listing appointments

 

            Other matters when listing property for rent

 

            Rental appraisals

 

            What to look for when inspecting property before listing for rent

 

            Rental listing sheet

 

            Furnished properties

 

            Landlord disclosure statement

 

            Title search

 

Identification of owners and setting up passwords for lessors

 

            Lessor obligations generally

 

            Disclosure of death and other matters to prospective tenants

 

            Lessor insurance details

 

            Body corporate by laws

 

            Legal impediment

 

Vacant possession requirements

 

Pools and Spas

 

            Risk management and best practice (pools)

 

            Pool information for tenants

 

            Definition of a swimming pool

 

            Safety switches

 

            Smoke alarms

 

Smoke alarms and risk management recommendations

 

            Keys and locks

 

            Telephone lines and internet

 

            Television aerials/antennas

 

            Solar Panels

 

            Supply of goods and services

 

            Gas bottles and gas certificates

 

            Curtain and blinds cords

 

Window coverings at the rental property

 

            Outgoing charges for the property that the lessor is responsible for

 

            Electricity to the property is not separately metered

 

            When a property is broken into

 

            Taking over management from another agent or lessor

 

            Preparing a property for rental

 

            How many people can live in rental property

 

Presentation time - 4 hours

 

Disclosure and the law

            Seller disclosure

            Disclosure of a death and other matters to prospective buyers

            PO Form 8 – Disclosure to buyer

            Unit sales – existing lots – section 206 disclosure requirements

Presentation time – 45 minutes

Beneficial interest and the law

            Meaning of beneficial interest

            PO Form 7

Presentation time – 20 minutes

Auctions and the law

            Auctions in general and conditions of sales

            Bidder registration

            Price guides

            What can be given to a buyer

            Advertising auction property online

            Auctions contracts and the Form 8

            Property goes under contract after auction has been passed in

            Auctions and the law

Presentation time – 45 minutes

Pricing, appraisals and the law

            What must be given to a seller

            Listing a property without price

            What can be given to a buyer

            Change of price instruction

Presentation time – 45 minutes

Contracts

            Meaning of relevant contract

            The Property Law Act and contracts

            Cooling off period

            Termination penalty

            Deposits and buyers

Contract documentation

            Special conditions of a contract

            What must be given to a buyer prior to a contract being entered into

            Timeline of contract schedule

            Settlement

            Contracts not settled

            Multiple offer situations

Presentation time – one hour and 30 minutes

Filing and record keeping

            Filing procedures

            Record keeping requirements and legislation

            Electronic record keeping

            Checking signatures for sellers and buyers

            Authority for either party to sign documents (other than contracts)

            Seller wants another name on the listing appointment (maiden/married name)

Presentation time – 30 minutes

File notes and follow up

            File note procedures – computer and manual systems

            Follow up procedures

Presentation time – 20 minutes

Rental property for sale

Working with property managers and tenants when listing a rental property for sale

            Disclosure to tenants prior to commencing tenancy

            Obtaining keys from property managers

            If a rental property goes on the market for sale in the first 2 months of a tenancy

            If a tenant refuses entry to show buyers through

            Legislative requirements generally

            Taking photos

            Open homes and onsite auctions

            Notice periods for vacant possession for a contract of sale

            Transfer of the tenancy by the lessor

            What every salespeople needs to know when a rental property is for sale

            When a notice is deemed served to a tenant

            Ending a tenancy lawfully

Presentation time – 1 hour

Agency policies in general

Customer service communication policy

When staff are going on leave or are absent for more than one day

Privacy and confidentiality

Complaints policy

            In the event of a claim or incident (at a property) being made against the agency

            Staff security and safety

            Driving and cars

            Mobile phones and vehicles

            Clothing for work

            Social media use and policy

            Job Description examples for Property Managers and Assistants

            Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Bullying

            Privacy and agency policies

Email etiquette tips

            Electronic signatures

            Other agency policies

Presentation time - 2 hours

Note that workplace laws are not covered by Real Esate Excellence due to the specialised field.

TRUST ACCOUNTING

            General trust account obligations

            Receipting

            Printing of receipts

            Banking

            Mid-month and end of month

            Withholding trust monies

            What must be printed at end of month

            Electronic back ups

            Auditing requirements generally

            Bond monies

            Accounting to clients

           Disbursing clients funds from the trust account

            Unclaimed monies from the trust account

            Trust monies in dispute

            Changing lessor or other third party banking details

            Reconciliation of the trust account

            Reversing trust account receipts

            Providing tenants with receipts for rent payments

Request for funds from the owner to pay for maintenance, renovations, accounts

If the lessor does not pay invoices due to contractors

End of financial year statement

Presentation time – 3 hours