Property Occupations Act changes
As of 1 December 2014, the Property Occupations Act 2014 (Qld) (‘POA’) will commence and replace the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000 (Qld) (‘PAMDA’). Other amendments taking effect as of 1 December 2014 included changes to the Land Sales Act 1984 (Qld) (‘LSA’) and the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (Qld) (‘BCCMA’). Contracts entered into prior to 1 December 2014 will still be regulated by the previous legislation.
The thrust of these changes is to streamline key property law legislation in Queensland, simplifying the contract formation process and reducing incidents of contract termination and dispute due to non-compliance with the rigid requirements of the previous legislation.
Key changes include:
- Definition of Residential Property – the meaning of residential property has been simplified to create more certainty for the property industry.
- Removal of PAMDA Form 30C Warning Statement / BCCMA Form 14 Information Sheet – there is no longer a requirement to include these forms as part of a relevant contract. Rather, a statement will be included on the signature page advising of the buyer’s rights with respect to the cooling-off period. Failure to include this statement in a relevant contract will result in a penalty of up to $22,000 and not a right to termination as previously existed under PAMDA.
- Cooling-off Period – the POA maintains the 5 day cooling-off period for residential property contracts. No cooling-off period will apply to contracts entered into within 2 days of an auction where the buyer was a registered bidder at said auction. A PAMDA Form 32a will no longer be required for the waiving or shortening of the cooling off period, rather the buyer can effect this change by issuing written notice to the seller and prior to their engagement with a solicitor.
- Disclosure – disclosure obligations under the LSA will be transferred to the BCCMA for a proposed lot in a community titles scheme. Disclosure materials will no longer be required to state the names and addresses of the seller and buyer. Further statements must be given at least 21 days before the contract is settled, noting that the current requirement is that notice is required within 14 days of the seller becoming aware of a change. The buyer’s right to terminate will arise if the buyer is materially prejudiced by the change.
- Off The Plan Contracts – sellers of off the plan lots will be entitled to request a deposit of up to 20% of the purchase price without the contract becoming an instalment contract. Other changes include that the parties can agree to a 5 ½ year sunset date, however, the default 3 ½ year sunset period will remain if parties do not agree to extend this period.
- Deregulation of Agent’s Commission – there will no longer be a statutory limit on the amount of commission an agent can charge a seller. Agents will be able to negotiate any commission with the seller and will not be required to disclose to the buyer how much commission they will receive from the seller. Agent’s will also be able to claim commission even where they have a beneficial interest in the sale, provided the seller is aware and the agent acts fairly and honestly in relation to the sale.
As these changes will soon be upon us, we advise all potential buyers and sellers to contact their solicitors prior to the signing a contract of sale. If you wish to make an appointment to speak with one of our conveyancers, please do not hesitate to contact us at 07 5591 5099 to discuss your matter.