top banner

Bill Atkinson
Relief Manager

With over 40 years' managerial experience within tourism and hospitality, Bill is the ideal person to look after your business while you're on holiday. 

Queensland is the home of management rights with thousands of mums and dads engaged in the business.

But the industry is expanding and now there is an increasing number of management rights in southern states and relief managers based in Queensland are border hopping. But are they operating legally in other states?

In Queensland a relief manager may work for up to 30 days without any licence at all. In many cases it is a requirement (if not also a courtesy) for managers to let their body corporate know that they will be away.

In NSW it is a very different story – a relief manager must hold a full NSW real estate licence even to work for a day. There are fines for the relief manager as well as the licensee of the management rights if caught by the Fair Trading inspectors in NSW. To work in New South Wales, a Queenslander must first obtain a Queensland real estate licence and then apply in NSW for \'mutual recognition\'. A Queensland resident cannot apply directly for a NSW real estate licence as the holder must have a permanent address in NSW.

This can be quite an expensive exercise for a relief manager, with real estate training costing about $2500, a Queensland licence about $1300 and \'mutual recognition\' in NSW about $400. So there is a huge difference for a relief manager who wants to work in Coolangatta, compared to Tweed Heads, just over the NSW border!

I believe that many relief managers charge from about $200 to $250 per day irrespective of whether they work as a couple or not – so it takes weeks of work just to pay for the licence.

In Victoria, whether a relief manager is required to be licensed depends upon their business activities. Under the Victorian act, there is no 'relief manager' role and therefore no definition of what it entails. However, if a relief manager's activities fall under the definition of 'estate agent' in section 4 of the act (which includes selling, buying, letting and leasing property and collecting rents on behalf of another person) then they are required to be licensed.

Relief managers should apply to the Victorian Business Licensing Authority for an independent assessment to see if they are required to have a licence or are exempt. The exemptions do include the following for persons who arrange short-term letting, which may be applicable to some relief managers: A person who acts as an estate agent solely in relation to the letting of residential property where the period of each letting is or is to be for a period of 90 days or less is an exempt person for the purposes of section 5(2)(h) of the Estate Agents Act 1980.

In South Australia, there seems to be no definitive regulations. I understand that a relief manager would simply be regarded as an employee of the letting agency or resort and I have not determined if that position requires the holding of some licence.

The relevant authorities in each of the states have been in discussions for a number of years through COAG to introduce licensing regulations which are common across all the states. While there are still plenty of details to iron out, some new regulations may be introduced next year.

Personally, I recently completed my Queensland full real estate licence. From the start of training to receiving the licence took about two months. Once I had my Queensland real estate licence it was only a formality to go to NSW Fair Trading at Tweed Heads and have the \'mutual recognition\' registered.

If anyone has had an experience contrary to those expressed above I would appreciate you letting me know.

Please take note that the above information is my interpretation of written and verbal communication with the licencing authorities and is provided as a guide only and you should obtain your own independent advice from the relevant state authority.

Useful contacts:

Property Licensing Section NSW: Phone (02) 9619 8799 www.licencerecognition.gov.au

Business Licensing Authority Victoria - Responsible for real estate licensing http://www.bla.vic.gov.au/

Consumers Affairs Victoria - Responsible for monitoring enforcement and compliance of licensing http://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/contact-us

South Australia Consumer and Business Services - Responsible for real estate licensing: Phone 131 882

South Australia Small Business Dept www.ocba.sa.gov.au/licensing/contact.html

Bill Atkinson
Relief Manager

With over 40 years' managerial experience within tourism and hospitality, Bill is the ideal person to look after your business while you're on holiday.