Settlement Agents Code of Conduct consultation 2016

Consumer Protection is seeking industry views on the final draft of the new Settlement Agents Code of Conduct 2016.

  • Status: CLOSED Friday 20 May 2016

Background

The new code, will replace the existing Settlement Agents’ Code of Conduct 1982 (the 1982 Code) and implements feedback previously received from the industry during a review in 2013. 

The changes make the code more relevant and appropriate to the current property market and industry practice.

Current consultation phase:

The purpose of this phase of the consultation is to give industry participants an opportunity to comment and consider any practical implications before the new code commences.

Key changes:

The changes in the new code include:

  • the language and format of the code, which has been updated to make it easier to read and understand;
  • making the rules consistent, where appropriate, with the other property industry codes of conduct and the Australian Consumer Law;
  • requiring settlement agents to cease acting for both parties if acting in the interests of one party would require withholding information or advice from the other;
  • replacing the requirement for substantial attendance with a requirement for sufficient supervision;
  • simplifying Form 1 and Form 2 (appended to the Code).

There are also new rules requiring settlement agents to:

  • disclose to their client if they will receive a fee for referring their client to a third party service provider;
  • comply with any fiduciary obligations that may arise in their role as agent; and
  • to act in good faith and in the best interests of the client.

Fee Deregulation and Costs Disclosure

These changes are in addition to fee deregulation and the related cost disclosure requirements introduced in February 2016. No further changes have been made to these requirements.

Previous consultation

In May 2013, the Department issued the Property Industry Codes of Conduct Discussion Paper which highlighted and sought feedback on a range of issues relating to the 1982 Code and the codes of conduct for the land valuation and real estate industries.  The majority of respondents to the discussion paper supported the codes and the need for them to be amended to provide greater detail and clarity on matters relating to the duties of licensees.

Ongoing consultation with the Australian Institute of Conveyancers (WA) has occurred during the drafting of the new code.

Transition Period

Settlement agents will have a period of two months from the date the new code comes into effect before having to comply with its requirements. During this period a settlement agent who complies with the 1982 Code but not the amended version will not have breached the code.   

Downloads and resources

Settlement Agents Code of Conduct 2016 - consultation draft

Settlement Agents Code of Conduct 1982 (State Law Publisher) - current code 

Have your say

Consultation phase is now closed. 

Enquiries:

Enquiries can be made by calling Consumer Protection Advice Line on 1300 30 40 54 or by email.

Settlement Agents Code of conduct - consultation draft

The draft code is available to the industry for comment and consideration of any practical implications before commencement.

Settlement Agents Code of Conduct - consultation draft

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