Settlement agent licensing information
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In Western Australia, there are two ways a person may arrange settlements or carry on business as a real estate settlement agent (individual, company, or partnership), or a business settlement agent.
- The first, is to be licensed and hold a current triennial certificate granted by Consumer Protection.
- The second, is to be a certified legal practitioner under the Legal Practice Act 2003.
The licensing system administered by Consumer Protection ensures only suitably qualified people are allowed to operate in the settlement industry.
As part of the licensing system, people are required to have certain qualifications, experience, sufficient material and financial resources, and be a person of good character and repute.
Detailed information about the legislative and other requirements to become licensed in Western Australia is available in the Licensing of settlement agents' fact sheet.
Applicants for a real estate or business settlement agent's licence must have passed the examinations which are required by a public training provider or registered training provider in order to complete:
- A Diploma of Financial Services (Conveyancing); and
- The following units -
- FNSCONV601B: Obtain and analyse information;
- FNSICORG603B: Negotiate to achieve goals and manage disputes.
A person wishing to obtain a business settlement licence must have passed the examinations which are required to complete a unit covering the settlement of business transactions.
Real estate settlement agent's licence applicants are required to provide to Consumer Protection a statement of academic record issued by the public training provider or registered training provider verifying that they have completed the education qualifications prescribed in regulation 6(1) of the Settlement Agents Regulations 1982.
Where an application relates to a business settlement agent's licence, the completion of the additional business settlements module must be shown on the statement of academic record.
The Settlement Agents Act 1981 requires that a licensed real estate settlement agent or business settlement agent be nominated as the person in bona fide control of the activities of the business.
On 27 June 2006, the Settlement Agents Supervisory Board adopted the policy statement, person in bona fide control. On 1 July 2011 the Board was abolished and its responsibilities were transferred to the Department of Commerce, who have adopted this policy. This policy statement outlines Consumer Protection’s requirements in respect of service agreements made between principals and persons in bona fide control. It is expected that these elements must be addressed when licence applications are submitted.
Service agreement requirements information sheet briefly explains the terms and conditions required in a service agreement between the licensee and person in bona fide control.
Each licensed settlement agent is issued with a licensing kit.
The Settlement Agents Act 1981 also requires that separate licences be obtained by firms (partnership licence) and companies (body corporate licence) that are set up as settlement agencies. For firms and companies to be licensed, and to continue to be licensed, they must meet and maintain certain standards, including a minimum number of licence holders, staff supervision and sound financial practices.