The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) is on track to deliver what it describes as the world’s first fully digitised residential tenancy agreements.
The new system has been developed by the body in partnership with local tech firm Igloo and is set to be launched across the state later this year.
According to a statement from REIQ, the system enables residential tenancy agreements to be executed as a digital smart contract. Utilising blockchain technology, the new smart contracts will create a simple and secure transaction for each tenancy agreement, it said.
REIQ general manager Josh Callaghan said the “revolutionary” system benefits all parties to the agreement by providing more transparency and enabling new functions that everyone can use.
“All parties will have visibility over the contract at any time from the palm of their hand. By executing as a smart contract, we’re also able to build out the functionality to handle payments of bond and rent, plus facilitate other activities related to the property such as routine inspections and maintenance,” Mr Callaghan said.
“Since the inception of smart contracts, their application to real estate contracts seemed obvious to me. We were very fortunate to discover an Australian-based startup that also shared that vision.”
Mr Callaghan said the new smart contracts would use blockchain technology to create a simple and secure transaction for each tenancy agreement that would leverage the benefits of the technology as an “irrefutable source of truth”. In addition, he said the system has far-reaching applications for the real estate sector, “particularly as more ancillary services come online”.
“Most people have heard about blockchain in the context of Bitcoin, which is somewhat unfortunate as the technology has applications for every sector. Smart contracts, in particular, are clearly the way of the future in a form of law that has relied on a handwritten signature for literally thousands of years,” he said.
“At its simplest, a smart contract is a digital contract that can live beyond its initial execution by facilitating transactions and giving all parties a central record of what has happened during the tenancy.”
Commenting further, Igloo founder and CEO Jeremy Hastings said: “As a startup, we knew that our world-leading technology could vastly improve the way that people are connected with property, but we needed an established partner to take it to market.
“The REIQ not only had the most widely used forms product in the state, it was also open to challenging the status quo — an essential element for working with us to drive value back into the tenancy process.”