ConveyancingSelling a Property in 2023 – Changes, Challenges, & More!

June 20, 20230

Big Changes Coming with the Property Law Bill 2023

 

The Property Law Bill 2023 has been passed by QLD Parliament and will be replacing the current Property Law Act 1974. The Bill is introducing new laws and regulations that will affect property buyers and sellers in QLD.

The biggest change coming for QLD property sellers is the introduction of statutory disclosure with sale contracts.

Currently, sellers in QLD are not required to provide a statement or searches on their property, unless the property is off-the plan or part of a community titles scheme. Buyers are currently tasked with the responsibility of investigating any issues with the property by way of searches and due diligence at their own cost. With the proposed changes introduced in the Property Law Bill, this could see the responsibility ‘flipped’ onto the seller.

This disclosure obligation is similar to what already exists in other states in Australia, such as New South Wales and Victoria with a section 32 statement.

Changes For Property Sellers Effected By Change In Government Bill?

If the Bill is implemented in its current form, property sellers will need to provide, at their own cost, more information on their property to a potential buyer in the form of a disclosure statement. The Seller will be required to attach the following documents to the disclosure statement, if applicable:

  1. Title Information– Seller to provide a title search and copy of registered plan.
  2. Body Corporate Information– Seller to provide a body corporate certificate, along with the community management statement and exclusive use by laws or other by laws not included in the community management statement.
  3. Pools– Seller to provide a pool safety certificate or notice of no pool safety certificate.
  4. QCAT Disputes– Seller to provide any information on tree application or tree order under the Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act
  5. Building Work– Seller to provide a statement and any information regarding any unlicensed building work under section 47 of the QBCC Act.
  6. Rates and Water– Seller to provide the most recent Rates notice and Water notice or a statement that the property is exempt from rates and/or water.
  7. Affected Infrastructure– Seller to provide any notices, orders or transport infrastructure proposed received by an authority that may affect title or use of the property after settlement.
  8. Planning and Zoning– Seller must provide information on the planning and zoning status that apply to the property.
  9. Energy Efficiency– Commercial sellers will need to provide information on whether a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate is available.
  10. Environmental Issues– Sellers will need to disclosure any notices regarding environmental issues that may impact the property, such as contaminated land, air pollution, and vegetation hazards.
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If a seller does not comply with their new disclosure obligations, there will likely be consequences in the form of buyers having termination rights under the contract. Therefore, sellers will need to take the time to collate all required information before placing their property on the market, particularly if they are considering selling their property at auction.

What does this mean for Buyers?

Buyers need to be aware that the proposed disclosure statement does not include information on:

  1. Flooding;
  2. Building and Pest issues;
  3. Lawful use of the property and planning laws;
  4. Pending building approvals on the property; and
  5. Services connected to the property.

Although some obligations will be reverting to the seller, buyers will still be required to perform some searches and due diligence on the property before making the decision to purchase.

If a buyer determines during their investigations that a seller has not provided correct and up-to-date information on a disclosure statement, they will have new termination rights that they do not have under the current laws.

Property Law Bill Changes To Leases and Deeds

The Property Law Bill proposes to change the release of liability with assignment of leases. Under the Bill, if the tenant assigns their interest under a lease, they will be released from liability once that initial assignee assigns their interest to a further assignee.

The Bill also proposes to decrease the limitation period under the Limitations of Actions Act 1974 by reducing the period from 12 years to 6 years. This means that anyone that is a party to a deed will have a significantly shorter time to bring action against another party for a breach of deed.

When does this start?

The new laws are not in effect yet as we are still awaiting the Property Law Bill to receive royal assent, which we are expecting to happen soon.

As this is the first overhaul of QLD property laws in almost 50 years, we recommend sellers, buyers and real estate agents get in contact with the A.L.F Lawyers property team to discuss how this may affect you.

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