The State Government’s new industry-specific property laws will commence on 1 December 2014. These laws replace the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act (PAMDA). Whether they simplify Queensland’s property laws and achieve the objective of reducing red tape for business remains to be seen.
These laws are the:
- Property Occupations Act 2014
- Motor Dealers and Chattel Auctioneers Act 2014
- Debt Collectors (Field Agents and Collection Agents) Act 2014
- Agents Financial Administration Act 2014
In addition the Land Sales and Other Legislation Amendments Act (LSOLAA) will also commence on 1 December 2014 and will introduce a range of changes to the Land Sales Act and the Body Corporate Community Management Act. Some of the key changes for participants in the property industry are as follows:
* Property Developers will no longer need a licence. It is hoped that this will reduce a barrier to entry into the market and will therefore increase competition;
* Under the provisions of LSOLAA deposits of 20% can be obtained from buyers under off the plan contracts before the instalment contract provisions as set out in the Property Law Act are triggered (up from 10%);
* Under the provisions of LSOLA sellers will be able to nominate a 5.5 year sunset date for settlement (up from the existing 3.5 years);
* sellers of land proposed to be subdivided into 5 lots or fewer will no longer need to seek an exemption from the Office of Fair Trading when seeking to be relieved from complying with certain disclosure requirements under the Land Sales Act. The exemption will now be automatic.
* there will be 1 simplified form for clients to appoint a property agent. This will replace the 7 forms that currently exist;
* agents will no longer need to state how they will perform their services or indicate the section of the appointment form that explains the different types of appointment.
* the maximum term of appointment for sole or exclusive agency will change from 60 days to 90 days. Either party may end an open listing at any time by giving written notice.
* the existing regulation on the limits on sale commissions for rural and residential property transactions will be abolished such that agents will be able to negotiate any commission with their clients. The rationale for this change is that it will increase competition in the market and therefore benefit consumers and will also help challenge the current perception that the maximum amount chargeable is in fact the industry standard;
* agents will no longer need to disclose to the buyer how much commission they receive from the seller.
* a resident letting agent will be able to manage more than 1 building complex and will nolonger need to live on-site. An agent will need to have a licensed person in charge of each place of business.
* sellers / agents will not need to attach a separate warning statement to a residential property contract. Instead a prescribed statement will be contained in the contract itself immediately above the space for the buyer’s signature;
* buyers will no longer need a lawyer’s certificate to waive or reduce their cooling-off period.
* Agents will be able to say that a reserve price exists for an auction of residential property. They still must not disclose the reserve price itself.
Few would argue that the existing provisions of PAMDA (and to a lesser extent the Land Sales Act) were cumbersome and complex and led to uncertainty in many property transactions. Hopefully the new laws will deliver on their objective to simplify the selling process, allow greater flexibility in the market place whilst still adequate protection to consumers.
For more information about property law please contact:
Graham Dutton, Commercial Partner
Direct Phone: 07 4046 1127
Direct Email: firstname.lastname@example.org