Unclaimed Money in Trust Accounts

Is your agency holding unidentified money in your trust account? Do you know your responsibilities and obligations?

Any person carrying on a business in Victoria is required to lodge unclaimed money with the State Revenue Office (SRO).

What is unclaimed money? Any money deposited into your trust account without a reference or is unidentified as to where it is to be allocated. Eg. It could be rent deposited electronically without a reference or code to the property or it could be a deposit on a sales property which has remained in the trust account after settlement and no instructions from either the Vendor or their legal representative as to where it is to be forwarded to has been given and the Vendor is now residing overseas. Sometimes Landlords send money for repairs/renovations to be carried out and do not give a reference or advice with the transaction.

Responsibilities of the business/agency in relation to unclaimed monies:

  • By 31 March each year, establish a register of all unclaimed money and;
  • enter the details of all unclaimed money amounts of $20 or more that are at least 12 months old as of 1 March that year into the register and;

By 31 May each year

  • Lodge a return with the SRO which includes
  • The Statement of Compliance (Smartform);
  • An electronic Excel data file detailing the unclaimed money information held as of 1 March that year; and payment of all unclaimed money held as at 1 March of that year to the SRO.

More information is available at www.sro.vic.gov.au

Complying with CAV Price Guidelines?

Do you comply with CAV Price Guidelines?

To avoid your agency being fined more than $29,000 for breaching the price guidelines, ensure you know your obligations in complying with the rules.

Underquoting property prices by Victorian Real Estate Agents is constantly in the Media and CAV are clamping down on Agents. The current CAV guidelines include the following points:

  • If a price range is advertised or quoted, the lowest amount in the range must not be less than the vendor’s selling price. If the vendor has not provided a selling price, the lowest amount in the advertised price range must not be less than your current estimate of the likely selling price.
  • Price advertising, marketing and advice must be updated for any genuine offers on price which are rejected by a vendor during a sales campaign.
  • If the lowest amount in the range falls below your estimated selling price or the vendor’s selling price, the practice is misleading and constitutes underquoting.
  • Price plus (+), over, in excess of (>), from, quoting greater than, expect over, offers invited from are considered misleading.

Ensure you have a copy of a printed comparables report in your sales folder associated with the property which will provide supporting evidence on how you derived at your price quote range.

Owners Corporation Tip # 1

Changing Owners Corporation Managers

If your Owners Corporation Committee is not happy with the current Owners Corporation Manager and the Committee is considering appointing a new Owners Corporation Manager – ensure you do your due diligence!

Check the current OC Manager’s Authority/Agreement for expiry date. If you appoint another Manager whilst you are still in agreement with the current OC Manager – your Owners Corporation will be obligated to pay two management fees and legally you will have to continue paying the original Manager’s fees until the agreement expires!