Licensing - settlement agents

Settlement agents licensing, registration and code of conduct

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 (individual, company, or partnership).

  • 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 Profession Act 2008.

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 fit and proper person of good character and repute.

Education qualifications

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 Conveyancing. 

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.

To locate a registered training organisation that is approved to deliver the Diploma you can search the National Vocational Education and Training Register at www.training.gov.au/search.

Statement of academic record

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.

Licensing information kit

Each licensed settlement agent is issued with a licensing kit upon request.

Information

Guidelines

Firms and companies

The Settlement Agents Act 1981 also requires separate licences be obtained by firms (partnership licence) and companies (body corporate licence) which 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.

Requirement to surrender licence if body corporate becomes unqualified

The licence and triennial certificate must be surrendered within five days after the licensee ceased to have the required number of licensed directors or have a licensed person in bona fide control of the business.

If the body corporate ceases to be qualified by reason of death or withdrawal, they can notify the Commissioner and operate for up to three months, after which they must surrender their licence and triennial certificate if they remain unqualified.

Application forms and general information

Settlement agents forms:

Option to surrender a triennial certificate

If a licence holder does not wish to continue to carry on business, they may surrender their triennial certificate at any time by paying the required holding fee to retain their licence. When ready to return to the industry, the licence holder can apply to renew their triennial certificate.

Renewal of a triennial certificate

A licensee is required to provide the following information/documentation in support of the application lodged to renew the triennial certificate:

  • An Australian Police check from an approved provider not more than three months old for the licensee, or for each partner, director and person in bona fide control of the licensee;
  • A statement of assets and liabilities as part of the renewal application form; and
  • Authorisation for the Commissioner to obtain a credit history report on the applicant’s behalf (also listed in the renewal application form).

To allow enough time for processing and any follow-up requirements relating to your application, it’s important to lodge a complete renewal application with all documentation at least one month before the expiry date. If the renewal is not processed and granted by the expiry date, you are no longer licensed to work. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. 

If the renewal is not processed and granted by the expiry date, you are no longer licensed to work. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Conditions on licences and triennial certificates

The Commissioner may impose or remove conditions on licences and triennial certificates at any time. If the Commissioner is considering imposing a condition, the licence holder must be notified in writing, and be offered the opportunity to make submissions in relation to the proposed condition. 

Further information

You can obtain additional information on the CPD program from:

  • licence fees and forms
  • A guide to the compulsory professional development program for settlement agents operating in Western Australia;
  • email enquiries; or
  • phoning the Consumer Protection advice line on 1300 304 054.

If you have any questions about the application process, please phone the licensing advice line:

  • 1300 304 064
  • 8:30am – 5:00pm weekdays.

Mutual recognition

If you are registered or licensed as a settlement agent elsewhere in Australia or New Zealand, and want to be registered in Western Australia, you can find out more information about having your licence recognised in WA.

Unlicensed trading

Unlicensed real estate and business settlement agents who falsely claim to be, or imply they are, a licensed real estate and business settlement agent are liable for a $100,000 penalty. 

Real estate and business settlement agents who permit or are willing to permit others to use their licence and triennial certificate are liable for a $100,000 penalty.

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