Significant Revisions to Queensland Property Law Act: Are you across the changes coming into effect 2024?

The Queensland Government is set to implement a new seller disclosure regime in the Property Law Act (2023) for land sales within the state, transitioning from the traditional “buyer beware” model to one that requires proactive disclosure by sellers. This shift is designed to enhance transparency for buyers, enabling them to make more informed decisions. The Property Law Bill 2023 (Qld), introduced to the Queensland Parliament on February 23, 2023, will usher in comprehensive new disclosure obligations for all types of registered (established) land sales in Queensland, including residential, agricultural, commercial, industrial, and other freehold properties.

Before executing a sale contract, sellers are mandated to provide a “disclosure statement” and any other documents defined by regulation (referred to as ‘prescribed certificates’) relevant to the property.

The disclosure statement must contain accurate information as of the time it is provided to the buyer and must be signed either by the seller or an authorized agent. The Property Law Regulation 2023 (Qld) will specify these documents. Included in the disclosure statement are statutory warranties by the seller, and the prescribed documents may include a title search, a registered plan of survey, and notices under the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (Qld), Building Act 1975 (Qld), and Planning Act 2016 (Qld), if applicable.

Sellers are required to disclose specifics of any unregistered encumbrances on the property, zoning as per the local government’s planning scheme, issues related to contamination and environmental protection under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld), and if the property is impacted by transport infrastructure plans that may alter its dimensions. Additional disclosures must note if the property is heritage-listed, subject to government resumption, or if it includes a pool (or common property). The disclosure statement should also detail the payable rates and water charges.

Excluded from the mandatory disclosure are aspects such as flooding, structural defects, pest infestations, the property’s current or historical use, details of past or current building approvals, planning law usage restrictions, and the status of utility connections.

These changes aim to improve buyer understanding of potential risks associated with property purchases. Under the new regulations, buyers have the right to pursue legal action against sellers who fail to fulfill their disclosure obligations. The law encompasses all registered freehold properties, including those sold at auction, by mortgagees or receivers, or through options, although certain exceptions exist.

The introduction of this disclosure regime is expected to have a considerable impact on conveyancers, agents, and other real estate professionals, necessitating stringent compliance with the new requirements. This includes careful drafting and review of contracts to ensure sellers fully understand and adhere to their responsibilities, thereby avoiding potential liabilities.

In summary, the new seller disclosure regime in Queensland will likely benefit buyers through enhanced decision-making capabilities and increased market transparency. This legal adjustment will also affect real estate professionals who must now ensure full compliance with the evolving requirements.

  1. What is the purpose of the new seller disclosure regime in Queensland? The new seller disclosure regime is designed to shift from a “buyer beware” approach to one that requires proactive disclosure by sellers. This change aims to enhance transparency in the property market, allowing buyers to make more informed decisions by having access to comprehensive information about the property before completing the purchase.
  2. What must be included in the disclosure statement under the new regime? The disclosure statement must include accurate, up-to-date information relevant to the property at the time of giving it to the buyer. This includes statutory warranties by the seller, details of any unregistered encumbrances, zoning information, environmental protection issues, whether the property is affected by future transport infrastructure projects, heritage listing statuses, government resumption intentions, and information on pools. Additionally, the statement should outline the payable rates and water charges.
  3. Are there any items that do not require disclosure under the new rules? Yes, the new regime specifies that certain information does not need to be disclosed in the statement. This includes information about flooding, structural defects, pest infestations, the property’s past or current use, details of any building approvals, limitations on property use under planning laws, and the status of services connected to the property.
  4. What happens if a seller fails to comply with the disclosure requirements? If a seller fails to comply with the disclosure requirements under the new regime, the buyer has the right to take legal action against the seller. This ensures that sellers are held accountable for providing all required information, thereby protecting the buyer from potential undisclosed issues.
  5. Who needs to be aware of these new disclosure requirements? The new disclosure requirements affect a wide range of professionals in the real estate industry, including conveyancers, real estate agents, and property lawyers. These professionals must understand and ensure compliance with the new regulations to avoid legal liabilities and ensure that property transactions are conducted transparently and lawfully.

Note: This content provides general information only. For specific legal advice, consult a legal professional.