If you are currently in the industry, how the changes affect you depends on the type and level of licence you currently hold. Read on for specific information for Business Broking Certificate of Registration holders.
Your certificate and authorised functions
From 23 March 2020, the name of your certificate will change to Assistant Agent in Real Estate – Business Agent.
This certificate is conditioned to the work currently done by a business salesperson.
You must still be employed by a Class 1 or 2 licence holder and be supervised by the licensee in charge to exercise the functions of this category.
As an Assistant Agent in Real Estate – Business Agent, you can perform the functions of a business agent, which include:
- selling, buying, exchanging or otherwise dealing with, or disposing of, businesses or professional practices, or any share or interest in or concerning or the goodwill of, or any stocks connected with, businesses or professional practices
- negotiating for the sale, purchase or exchange, or any other dealing with or disposition of businesses or professional practices, or any share or interest in or concerning or the goodwill of, or any stocks connected with, businesses or professional practices,
But you cannot:
- enter into an agency agreement (this includes a sales agreement, property management agreement or a franchising agreement), or
- authorise the withdrawal of money from a trust account.
This means that from 23 March 2020, an Assistant Agent can still try to get new clients and arrange for a vendor to fill in a sales agreement, but only a Class 2 or Class 1 Agent can sign and bind the agency to an agreement.
Why can’t I bind parties to an agreement? I have been in the industry for years.
This is a key reform to increase the overall level of qualification of industry participants to a standard that is more appropriate for the demands of the market today.
Under the real estate and property industry reforms, the Assistant Agent is an entry level position to allow new entrants to gain the experience and knowledge required to qualify as an Agent.
Choosing to remain at the current entry level will no longer be possible. All new entrants and existing certificate holders are required to complete the Certificate IV qualification and undertake a range of experiences.
Why will my certificate be conditioned to business agent functions?
Under the reforms, a number of work categories have been grouped into the real estate category.
These include real estate sales and leasing, business broking and on-site residential property management.
All persons carrying out these functions will transition to the real estate category but be conditioned to the work they were previously qualified for.
The new training package for real estate allows you to gain knowledge in all these categories and on completion of the new Certificate IV in Real Estate Practice (CPP41419) and 12 months’ work experience, a person may be issued a Class 2 Real Estate Agent’s licence without restrictions.
Can I continue to inspect properties and complete sales inspection reports?
Yes, an assistant agent can continue to inspect properties and complete sales inspection reports for sales or property management. However, the licensee entering into the agency agreement for the property will need to ensure that the inspection is carried out properly and be satisfied that the contents of the inspection report are true and accurate.
A certificate as an Assistant Agent is a one-off certificate issued for a period of 4 years. By the end of the 4 years, you must attain a Class 2 Real Estate Agent’s licence.
You can obtain this licence by either:
- completing the Certificate IV in Real Estate Practice (CPP41419) and 12 months’ work experience for an unrestricted Class 2 Real Estate Agent’s licence, or
- completing the Certificate IV in Property Services (Business Broking) (CPP40507) and 12 months’ work experience for a Class 2 Real Estate Agent’s licence restricted to business agent functions.
If you fail to obtain a Class 2 licence within this time, your certificate will lapse and you will be unable to work as an Assistant Agent for a period of 12 months.
If I hold a certificate but really just do administrative work, will I be required to qualify as a Class 2 Agent within the 4 years?
A person who holds a certificate as an Assistant Agent must obtain the Class 2 licence. After 4 years, the Assistant Agent certificate will lapse.
Unless a person is undertaking the functions of a business agent as outlined in the legislation, there is no requirement for them to hold a licence or certificate of registration.
We will provide more information to assist businesses distinguish between licensed activities and administrative work before the reforms start.
Can I get ‘credit’ for time already spent in the industry?
You will still be required to complete a Certificate IV. You may request ‘Recognition of Prior Learning’ from your training provider. Contact your training provider to find out more.
Can I extend the 4 year time period as an Assistant Agent? What about extenuating circumstances?
No. The period of 4 years provides ample time to complete the qualification, with a buffer for time away from work due to health, family or other reasons.
How to change my existing certificate to the new one
If your certificate is current as at 23 March 2020, you will automatically become an Assistant Agent in Real Estate – Business Agent under the reforms.
Fair Trading will extend the expiry date of your current certificate until 23 March 2024 at no further cost to you.
We will let you know when your new certificate showing the new licence name and expiry date is available.
Can I use my current certificate?
Yes, you can use your current certificate until your new certificate is available.
Do I need to change my business cards and other published information?
This will depend on how you refer to your current position. You can still use the term ‘certificate of registration’. However, there is now a clear distinction between an Assistant Agent and an Agent. Any reference to your position as being an Agent is misleading once the reforms start and should be changed.
What if I haven’t renewed my licence by 23 March 2020?
Only certificates that are current as at 23 March 2020 will automatically transition to the new Assistant Agent.
If you renew or restore your certificate after 23 March 2020, you will also automatically transition.
If your certificate expired in the 12 months before 23 March 2020 you will need to reapply as an Assistant Agent, but you can use the entry qualification you completed for your previous certificate.
If your certificate expired more than 12 months ago, you will need to complete the new entry qualification and apply to become an Assistant Agent.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
CPD will also undergo significant change and you will have new requirements. Compliance with the CPD requirements will continue to be a condition of holding your certificate.
As an Assistant Agent in Real Estate – Business Agent, the key changes to CPD that apply to you include:
- you will need to complete CPD on an annual basis commencing on 23 March
- you must complete at least 3 units from a relevant Certificate IV
- if you do not comply with your CPD requirements, your certificate may be suspended.
Fair Trading is developing an online reporting tool for the completion of CPD which will be available later in 2020. Before this is ready, you should retain your own record of completion of CPD.
If I complete a unit of the Certificate IV through recognition of prior learning, will this count towards my CPD?
Yes, it will count towards CPD.
If I have completed other CPD since my last renewal, will this credit towards my first year?
Only if you have completed a unit from a relevant Certificate IV since your last renewal.
Do I need to keep a record of CPD? Will I need to make a statement verifying I have completed my CPD?
You will need to keep your own records until the online reporting tool is available. Certificate holders must retain the statement of attainment issued by a registered training organisation for each unit completed. These records must be retained for 4 years.
Under the current CPD arrangements, the CPD year and reporting is linked to your certificate renewal. Going forward, certificates are issued for 4 years and licences can be renewed for 1, 3 or 5 years. This means the current practice of having CPD reporting periods aligned to an individual’s renewal date must cease.
Applying for, renewing or changing my certificate
To assist you with managing your certificate of registration, Fair Trading is developing a new licensing system which will be available from 23 March 2020.
We will also introduce ‘lifetime licence numbers’ which means that once you become an Agent, you will keep the same licence number even if you return to the industry after your licence expires or you make changes to it.
Assistant Agents will receive an interim licence number until they become qualified as an Agent.
The online licensing system improves our services with:
- digital lodgement for all applications, changes and renewals
- faster processing times on some applications
- a simpler application process
- the option to record your preferred or anglicised name on your licence, and
- improved SMS and email updates to you on the progress of your application and reminders about your renewal.
The system will be further enhanced over the next year to provide you with an electronic log to record your experience requirements and completion of CPD topics.
We will be collecting information from you about your employer, so these logs can be verified and monitored by your employer.
This additional information will also assist us in delivering a better public register for consumers and improved consumer protections through enhanced monitoring of industry compliance.
The new system will be available through Service NSW and you will receive links and further information about how to connect to your licence information.
How to prepare for the changes
There are a number of things you can do to prepare for commencement of the changes:
- Make sure your certificate is current as at 23 March 2020. If your renewal date is around this time, make sure you renew promptly.
- Make enquiries with registered training organisations about their offerings for a Certificate IV. If you want to obtain a Class 2 Agent licence without conditions, you will need to source a training organisation offering the new qualification, Certificate IV Real Estate Practice (CPP41419).
- Talk to your employer about changes in your business processes. For example, what will be the process for having a Class 1 or 2 Agent sign sales agreements and property management agreements? Are there new business processes for trust accounts?
- Check your business cards and promotional material to make sure your job title is not misleading.
- Get familiar with the revised Rules of Conduct and Supervisory Guidelines
- Get familiar with the experience requirements you will need.
- Register an account with my.service.nsw.gov.au if you don’t already have one.
- Subscribe to our Property Matters eNewsletter. We will use this eNewsletter to communicate important information about the reforms.
If you have questions not answered here, please contact us on 13 32 20.