Audit reminder, the rent relief grant, and renting beyond the emergency period - Real estate industry bulletin 239

This publication is for: 
Licence holdersProperty industry

11 February 2021

In this issue:

  • Reminder: 2020 trust account audit report due soon
  • Two new phases of Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme
  • Future renting WA - Negotiating guide now available

Reminder: 2020 trust account audit report due soon

The 31 March 2021 deadline for the 2020 trust account audit is fast approaching.

Do I need to have an audit?

All licensed real estate and business agents who held a current triennial certificate at any point during 2020 and held or received any monies in trust during 2020, must cause an audit of their trust accounts to occur.

Who can submit an audit report?

Your approved auditor must submit your audit report to the Commissioner for Consumer Protection by the 31 March 2021. Start providing your auditor with the information they need to complete the trust account audit. This will allow time for the auditor to complete the report and for you to review and verify it before its submission to the Commissioner.

You can assist your auditor by:

  • Disclosing all trust accounts, including interest bearing trust accounts.
  • Providing all records relating to discrepancies in trust accounts, regardless of how the error occurred or whether you have already notified us.
  • Stating your current address in the statutory declaration/s.

The Commissioner is unable to accept reports from unapproved auditors. Anyone wishing to change auditors must request approval from the Commissioner by completing and submitting the Change of auditor request form. You, your previous auditor, and your new auditor, must sign this form. We can accept change of auditor requests for the 2020 audit period up to 5pm on 26 February 2021. A case-by-case assessment will occur for requests made after this date for an auditor change that affects the 2020 audit period.

When do I not need an audit?

If you did not hold or receive any monies in trust during 2020, you do not need  an audit. Instead, you need to complete and submit a Declaration of no receipt of trust funds to the Commissioner by 31 March 2021.

You may be exempt from having to submit an audit report or declaration if you held one of these roles for another licensed trading entity: bona fide control; branch manager; licensed director; partner; or licensed partner.

The exemption will only be for the period of time that you held the role and will only apply to your own licence requirements. The trading entity will still need to provide an audit. To seek an exemption, please email audits@dmirs.wa.gov.au with information about your role/s during 2020.

What if the Commissioner does not receive the audit report or declaration by the deadline?

If we do not receive these by the 31 March 2021, we may issue an infringement notice that carries a penalty of $2,000.

More information

The below online resources may help you with your audit requirements:

If you have any queries on audits or want to submit an audit declaration, you can contact us by emailing audits@dmirs.wa.gov.au.

New phases of the Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme

Recent expansions of the Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme offer more financial assistance to tenants and landlords. The expansions aim to secure current tenancies beyond the end of the COVID-19 emergency period on 28 March 2021.

A third phase expansion, which started in January 2021, assists landlords who reduced, deferred or waived rent during the emergency period under the Residential Tenancies (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 (WA).

The fourth phase will target tenants who may struggle to pay expected rent increases after the moratorium ends. Tenants who are facing a significant rent increase, greater than the normal market rate of five percent a year, can apply for up to $2,000 per tenancy.

A key condition for both phases of the grant is that the landlord agrees to a fixed-term tenancy agreement of at least six months starting from the moratorium end date.

Full eligibility criteria and application information is available on our Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme page.

New publication: Future renting WA - Negotiating guide

The clock is ticking on WA’s renting moratorium with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic emergency laws due to expire on 28 March 2021.

To help with the transition back to the usual residential tenancy requirements, we have developed a new publication, Future renting WA – Negotiating guide, in conjunction with key industry stakeholders, including the Real Estate Industry of Western Australia.

The guide covers scenarios that could play out and examines the risks, benefits, considerations and pathways forward.

Negotiating now will allow landlords and tenants to be better prepared and lead them to have time to make plans for a safe and secure renting future.

More information is available on our Residential tenancies - COVID-19 response page.

Disclaimer: 

This bulletin contains general information obtained from internal and external sources to the Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety. While we use our best endeavours to ensure the information is correct and current at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after that time may impact upon the accuracy of the material. It is your responsibility to ensure the information is still correct when applying it to your situation in the future, including seeking independent professional advice. More information is available on our Disclaimer page. 

Consumer Protection
Bulletin
Last updated 15 Feb 2021

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