Consumer Affairs Victoria handed out 117 infringement notices amounting to fines of more than $120,000 and official warnings to real estate agents who did not lodge their trust account audit reports last year.
While most agents are doing the right thing when it comes to maintaining their trust accounts, agents who don’t have their trust accounts audited, or who fail to lodge a copy of the audit report, face penalties of up to almost $20,000. Those found to have spent trust money fraudulently for their own use can face penalties of up to $82,510 or up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
As an estate agent, you must have a trust account for holding money you receive from clients, for example:
Trust accounts are required to be maintained in accordance with the Estate Agents Act 1980 and the Estate Agents Regulations 2008.
Your trust accounts are required to be audited each year:
Trust Audits are a critical consumer protection measure that ensure client moneys are being held on trust and not misused or taken for other purposes.
For more information on trust account auditing, click here.
AFS & Associates provides assurance and ongoing support to a large number of real estate firms, from sole practitioners to large corporates. Our experienced team can help ensure you remain compliant with the Estate Agents Act and Regulations. Please contact Josh Griffin – Audit Partner, if you need a Trust Account audit organised for the year ending 30 June 2021.