The National Occupational Licensing System: Codifying Real Estate Agents' Trust Accounts

Australian Property Institute
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian and New Zealand Property Journal, 2013, 4 (4), pp. 382 - 391
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Every state and territory within Australia has a range of regulatory bodies to oversee consumer protection and the distinct licences that comprise their regimes. In the case of property agents, licensing is managed under the auspices of individual state and territory offices of fair trading. However, despite uniformity in the choice of regulator, the licensing provisions themselves are not uniformly designed or enforced. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to establish a national licensing arrangement for seven occupational areas, including the property sector. The purpose of these reforms was to establish a more uniform licensing system across the jurisdictions in Australia.In the property sector, reform of licensing measures also entails reform of trust account regulations and minimum educational qualifications. During the last decade, in New South Wales there has been a steady increase in fraud with agencies' trust accounts. Therefore, the aim of this research is to identify any trends contributing to the misappropriation of trust funds, and the feasibility of a National Licensing System. The research concluded that educational qualifications and licensing entry requirements are an important consideration for best practice governance relating to trust accounting and management skills in a real estate agency.
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