Changes to ‘off the plan’ purchases

Legislation governing Queensland property transactions has been simplified again following the passing of legislation last week which will seek to streamline the process of purchasing ‘off the plan’ properties.

Queensland Law Society (“QLS”) President Ian Brown has welcomed the passing of changes to land sales laws which it is hoped will allow for greater contractual freedom and a reduction of unnecessary red tape. Mr Brown has stated that “the changes will improve the level of disclosure for buyers so they can make well-informed purchase decisions”.

The QLS is particularly pleased that a significant number of issues which were raised during consultation with the industry have been adopted into the amendments.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Jarrod Bleijie, noted in previous media releases that “these reforms will make Queensland an even more attractive place to live and work by promoting growth and investment, which in turn creates opportunities for Queenslanders”.

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (“REIQ”) has also welcomed the new laws which they say will streamline ‘off the plan’ property transactions and provide a boost to the Queensland economy.

Some of the major changes to the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (“BCCMA”) include the removal of all offences relating to disclosure statements, a 5 ½ year sunset date and an option for Buyers to terminate within 21 days if they are materially prejudiced as a result of a variation.

Further changes under the Land Sales Act 1984 (Qld) (“LSA”) include a requirement for Sellers to provide a plain English explanation of any variations and an obligation upon the Buyer to show they have been materially prejudiced by any variation.

Although these new changes will make it easier for buyers and property developers to conduct exchanges of property, it is still imperative that prospective purchases consult with their Solicitor before entering into any off the plan contracts.