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Department of Justice

Operating a Conveyancing Business

Professional indemnity insurance

  • Section 13 of the Conveyancing Act 2004 requires all conveyancers to be covered by an approved policy of professional indemnity insurance to a prescribed minimum amount of $1 million.
  • Conveyancers are required to provide evidence annually that they are covered by this insurance.
  • You must always be covered by the appropriate professional indemnity insurance. If your insurance lapses or is cancelled your conveyancers licence is deemed to be suspended.
  • The policy must be in the individuals name or a combination of both individual and trading name.

 

Trust Accounts

  • A licensed conveyancer is required to maintain a trust account in an authorised deposit taking institution.
  • All monies received from clients must be deposited into this account.
  • A trust account must be audited each financial year.
  • An annual return for the period ending 30 June of that year must be provided to Building Standards and Occupational Licensing by 30 September each year.
  • The annual return must contain the following:
    • name and location of any trust account in which trust money has been deposited;
    • the total amount if all contributions to the trust account;
    • a balance statement of the trust account;
    • a report from the auditor stating the conveyancer has kept proper accounting records and other books during the period.
  • Audits are to be carried out by a person who is a member of any of the following:
    • Institute of Chartered Accountants
    • Australian Society of Certified Practicing Accountants
    • National Institute of Accountants

 

Accounting

Conveyancing documents must:

  • correctly record and explain the business transactions;
  • correctly record and explain the receipts and payments of trust money;
  • enable trust accounts and accounting records to be properly audited; and
  • be kept for 6 years after the date of the last relevant transaction.

 

Advertising

Conveyancing advertisements must not:

  • contain information that is false, misleading or deceptive;
  • make or imply a comparison with another conveyancer; and
  • be vulgar, sensational or bring the conveyancer or profession into disrepute.

 

Sharing business premises

When sharing business premises a conveyancer must:

  • maintain all records and accounts securely, confidentially and separately
  • keep any other business they operate from the same location, separate from their conveyancing business
  • make sure a business sharing the premises keeps their business separate as far as practicable
  • make sure that sharing business premises doesn't breach the Conveyancing Act 2004 or the Rules of Conduct
  • avoid or disclose any conflict of interest to clients

 

Being present at place of business

  • A conveyancer must be in charge of their place of business and spend a substantial time at that location during normal business hours
  • When operating a branch location a conveyancer must:
    • personally undertake and supervise the work done and the conveyancing services provided; and
    • ensure all work and communication is given prompt attention
  • A notice must be displayed in a prominent position in every office or branch that states:
    • the contact details of any other office or business where a conveyancer may be located; and
    • if a conveyancer is not there, when they will next be in attendance.