It has now been over 3 months since the new changes to the Property & Stock Act 2002 took effect. However, on my visits to real estate offices across NSW it appears that confusion still abounds.
Let’s examine why that is the case and then, unpack the changes neatly so that it is very clear for all agents to understand.
What most agents didnt’t understand is that the 23/3/2020 was a deadline for many factors that would affect our profession in NSW. Not only were there some massive changes to registration and licensing but we had a change to the real estate training package. This was a deliberate decision by Fair Trading to merge 2 industry “landmark” changes into one seamless transition. It seemed like a logical thing to do. The training package was going to change (after many years) on the 23/3/2020 so it was a perfect time to commence Legislation changes on the same day.
This was, in hindsight, not such a great idea. The industry was trying to get its head around how to implement Legislation changes and at the same time, had to navigate a change to a new Training package, which meant new courses, new time frames and hours of investigations to figure out how the jigsaw puzzle was going to fit together. Throw a worldwide pandemic into this mix and it’s not hard to see why most agents have struggled to grasp the way forward with our new Property & Stock Act 2002. So what has actually changed and what do you need to be aware of.?
Firstly, Certificates of registration and licensing have changed, with Fair Trading adding another level of complexity into the mix.
Certificates of registration holders (as of 23/3/2020) are now known as “Assistant agents” with a limited ability to sign documents on behalf of the agency. No longer can they sign Agency agreements or bind parties to an exchange of a “contract for sale”. The only document an assistant agent can sign is a Residential lease on behalf of the agency. This means that any document that needs to bind 2 parties legally must be signed by either a Class 2 agent or a Class 1 agent (both new categories of licensing under the new Property & Stock Act 2002.) New applicants to the industry will start as “Assistant agents”. Think of it like this, Assistant agents are like an apprenticeship…. their role is to “assist” both Class 2 and Class 1 agents in their roles within the real estate office. Fair Trading has given the “Assistant agent” up to 4 years to transition away from being an “Assistant agent” and into a Class 2 agent with further study (the new licensing course) and a minimum of 12 months industry experience. If you are a Certificate of Registration holder, then check the Fair-Trading website, you will see that your Certificate of Registration now has the addition “Assistant Agent” and its expiry date is now 23/3/2024. So, you can clearly see that your deadline is now in place. You need to transition to a Class 2 agent before this date…..no exceptions…no excuses. Your Certificate of Registration will NOT be renewed post 23/3/2024. (You’re out of a job if you don’t move to a Class 2 agent by this date.)
If you currently hold a license, then on the 23/3/2020 you automatically became a Class 2 agent. In effect, the Class 2 agent is the “old” Certificate of registration holder. That is, the Class 2 agent can sign all types of agency documents and can bind vendor and purchaser in an exchange of contracts, just like the old Certificate of Registration holder use to do. Prior to 23/3/2020 any license holder could nominate themselves to be a “Licensee in charge” but not anymore. You can’t be a “Licensee in charge” with a Class 2 license, that’s the privilege of a Class 1 license holder.
If you were a current sitting “Licensee in charge” on 23/3/2020 then good news for you. You were automatically upgraded and your agents License became a “Class 1” agents license on this date. These existing “licensee’s in charge” were the only ones that got the “free ride” to the position of a Class 1. Why.? Because Fair Trading still need a “Licensee in charge” at the agencies registered place of business and as the new rules meant that only Class 1 license holders can be a “Licensee in charge” then existing “Licensee’s in charge” had to hold Class 1 licenses. (Your freebie from Fair Trading). So, the Class 1 license is now “top of the tree” and will be the most sought-after license available. Businesses can have multiple Class 1 license holders but only 1 needs to be nominated as the “Licensee in charge” of the business.
The advancement to a Class 1 license starts with the Assistant agents Certificate, moves through a Class 2 role to finally arrive at a Class 1 license. The time frame depends on where you are up to in this process. You need to remain as an assistant agent for a minimum term of 12 months, do the new licensing course and arrive at your Class 2. Then, from here it is another 2 years in the industry and a Diploma course to reach your Class 1. Total time in industry is now 3 years. Yes, 3 years from a standing start if you want to open up your own business. That’s a big game changer compared to the good old days.
Continuing Professional development (CPD) has also changed. Previously, it was 12 points required prior to your renewal of your License or Certificate. Now, Assistant agents will be studying the new licensing course on their quest for a Class 2 license and will have up to 4 years to achieve this benchmark.
Class 2 license holders will be doing 6 hours of CPD and Class 1 holders will be doing 9 hours of CPD, but Fair Trading has given the Class 1 license holder a reprieve on the last 3 hours till 23/3/2021. Currently, Class 1 License holders only need to do 6 hours, similar to that of the Class 2 license holder till 23/3/2021, then its 9 hours from then on. More responsibility = more training, at least that’s how Fair-Trading see’s it anyway.
Let me suggest at this point you check yourself out on the Fair Trading licensing enquiry page :
Here is the Link. https://www.onegov.nsw.gov.au/publicregister/#/publicregister/search/Property
If you still have any questions then feel free to email me at REET and I’ll be happy to qualify further.
And some good news for those of you that want to upgrade from your Class 2 to a Class 1 WITHOUT doing any study. There are some rules to help you do this which most people don’t know about. Is this you.? If so, there is a deadline till 23/3/2021 so you had better contact me without delay so I can show you how to do it….no charge. A freebie from REET.