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Thursday 23, Jan 2020

Some big changes are coming to New South Wales next month as the State Government introduces reforms to laws that govern agents in the real estate and property industry.  

The Property, Stock and Business Agents Amendment (Property Industry Reform) Act 2018 (NSW) will come into effect on March 23 in an effort to improve the professional standards and qualifications of agents and streamline the licensing framework. 

While for the large part the reforms are a positive step for the industry, and welcomed by ARAMA, there could have been implications detrimental to the future of management rights in NSW if it wasn’t for our continued representation of management rights operators over a number of years.  

Under the original reform proposal, someone looking to sell their management rights business would only be able to do so to another Class 1 licensee who has already achieved three years’ work experience in order to operate a trust account as part of the licensing requirement. 

Put bluntly, this virtually deems an operator’s management rights business worthless with the inability to sell it – and I can’t emphasise strongly enough how badly this would have impacted the industry across NSW.   

However, following our lobbying efforts and submissions on the issue, we are proud to welcome the exemption of on-site residential property managers (OSRPM) from the experience requirement under the new law.  I congratulate all of our members in NSW and other key stakeholders for coming together as a collective and representing the voice of our industry in unison. 

This is yet another great example of the way in which ARAMA can present a valuable contribution to proposed legislative changes before they are made public.  The credibly ARAMA has established with government is the result of many years of well-planned and well-presented submissions which demonstrate our solid understanding of the issues and a willingness to negotiate a fair and balanced outcome. 

ARAMA has also been identified as a pre-approved association authorised to deliver certain components of the continuing professional development requirement for NSW licensees.  All other non-Government organisations including RTO`s will be required to make application and be approved with a limit on the number of approvals granted.

In another win for the management rights industry, short-term residential accommodation (STRA) businesses in strata schemes have also been carved out of the new planning laws introduced in response to the rapid rise of online booking services such as Airbnb and Stayz.  

The new laws cap the use of a residence in Greater Sydney used for short-term letting to 180 days if the host isn’t present (with councils in other regions having the power to impose the same restrictions).  The new regulatory framework is designed to ensure that local communities continue to gain from the economic benefits of short-stay rental accommodation such as holiday letting, while protecting neighbours from anti-social behaviour.  

It further recognises the economic significance of management rights businesses in the short-term letting accommodation industry – and confirms the role resident managers play in addressing these emerging concerns as the most effective method of serving the interests of unit owners, bodies corporate, tourists and tenants. 

Following these positive outcomes in NSW over the past 12 months ARAMA will proudly participate in various reference groups and sub-committees over the coming years that will allow us to continue to positively influence policy makers in relation to property law, residential tenancy law, and education and licensing requirements. 

In this regard, you could view ARAMA as insurance for the management rights industry – when the industry is threated, it is nice to know that someone is always there to provide tangible support.  

Trevor Rawnsley