Are you a property agent looking after general trust accounts? From January 1st, all general trust accounts need a Unique Identifying Number (referred to as UID), which can be obtained from the NSW OneGov Government Licensing Service website.

This change under the Property, Stock and Business Agents Regulation 2014 supports NSW Fair Trading officers in monitoring accounts and safeguarding consumer funds.

To be issued a Unique Identifying Number for an account visit the Property & Real Estate – NSW OneGov page. Then you can then present this to an Authorised Deposit-Taking Institution to open the account.

For existing general trust accounts, access the OneGov site to obtain a Unique Identifying Number no later than 30 June 2015. This can also be presented to the Authorised Deposit-Taking Institution to register the account.

This only applies to general trust accounts. Separate trust accounts (Interest Bearing Deposit Accounts) kept on the instructions of a client to whom those funds belong or opened for the exclusive benefit of buyer and seller of land, are exempt from these new requirements.

I have just completed the entire process of this new law, registering existing trust accounts. The following steps outline how easy it is.

10 easy steps to ensure you’re compliant for existing trust accounts:

1.     Log onto the NSW One Gov website

2.     Go to “Services” and click on the “Property and Real Estate” link

3.     Click on “Create/Close a Trust Account Registration” on the lower right hand side of the website

4.     Select Option 2:  “Existing Accounts? Create Registration Number”

5.     Enter the Corporation license number

a.     This is slightly ambiguous because it says real estate license number.

6.     Enter email address

7.     Confirm to get to the next stage

8.     You will receive the unique identifier which you can print

9.     The website then emails you the next step of the process: a form that needs to be signed by the licensee of the business and also needs to be stamped by the Financial institution where the trust account is held.

a.     This part is really important as without following through with this stage means the process is incomplete.

10.  The agency keeps the duplicates and the bank keeps the original.

a.     Keep the copy of the duplicate in the audit file so it is available and easily accessible at all times.

Repeat steps 1-10 if you have more than ONE trust account. 

Finally, after you register the trust account, what then? Where do you display your UID? The short answer, and most importantly is, across all of your trust reports.

Lastly, you’ll need to enquire with your trust account software provider to make sure this is possible. Some software companies have responded quicker than others by providing a section in their software where this number can be keyed in and displayed. If you’re completing your accounting manually then you will need to write the number on each monthly report.

So have you registered as yet? If so, how have you found the process? 

~ Jane Morgan is the Director of End of Month Angels, a consultancy firm specialising in Trust Accounting. She knows the legislation, and the requirements of running a successful Real Estate office because she practiced Real Estate herself for 15 years. Don’t trust just anyone with your trust accounting. So trust End of Month Angels and get back to what you do best – growing your business.