What Changes would the New Property Law Bill 2023 Bring?

On 23rd February, the new Property Law Bill 2023 was introduced to Parliament. If passed, this will be the most significant change to property law in 50 years.

The Property Law Bill 2023 is set to replace the Property Law Act 1974, bringing in new laws and regulations for property owners and buyers in Queensland. One of the most significant changes is the introduction of statutory disclosure regime for property sellers.

Seller disclosure is information that a seller of property discloses to the buyer of that property.

In Queensland currently, there are no formal seller disclosure requirements, other than for β€œoff-the-plan” or community title scheme sales, with the responsibility placed on the buyers to investigate any defects and faults in a property.

The proposed regime aims to provide buyers with more information about a property’s condition, history, and potential issues, allowing them to make an informed decision about whether or not to buy the property. Similar disclosure obligations already exist in other States, including New South Wales and Victoria.

Proposed Disclosure Statement

If implemented, property sellers will be required to provide at their cost a range of information to potential buyers in a single document along with any prescribed certificates. The disclosure will need to be made in the approved form. A link to a draft of the approved form can be found here.

At the time of this article, the proposed disclosure statement will include:

  1. Property title: Sellers will need to provide a copy of the property title, which will show who owns the property and any registered encumbrances, such as mortgages or easements.
  2. Planning and zoning: Sellers will be required to provide information about the property’s planning and zoning status. This will include details about any planning restrictions, such as height or density limits, and any zoning restrictions, such as whether the property is zoned for residential or commercial use.
  3. Building Work: Sellers will be required to provide information regarding any building work carried out by an unlicensed person. 
  4. Infrastructure proposal: Sellers will need to provide a statement whether a notice, order or transport infrastructure proposal has been issued that may affect the property. 
  5. Rates and Water: Sellers will need to provide information about the property’s rates and water accounts. 
  6. Body corporate information: Sellers will be required to provide a body corporate certificate for a lot included in a community titles scheme (if applicable) together with a copy of the community management statement (CMS) and any exclusive use by-laws not included in the CMS.
  7. Energy efficiency: For commercial properties, Sellers will need to provide information on whether a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate is available on the Building Energy Efficiency Register.
  8. Environmental issues: Sellers will be required to disclose any written notices required for environmental issues that may impact the property. This could include information about contaminated soil, air or water pollution, or any environmental hazards in the area.

The proposed disclosure statement does not include information about:

  • Flooding history;
  • Structural soundness of the building or pest infestation;
  • Current or historical use of the property;
  • Current or past building approvals for the property except, for the seller’s statement regarding building work by unlicensed persons;
  • Limits imposed by planning laws on the use of the land; or
  • Services that are or may be connected to the property.

Effect On The Sellers

If the proposed disclosure statement is implemented, it will increase the obligations of sellers who will need to provide accurate and up-to-date information about their property. Penalties for non-compliance can be severe, and can vary from outright termination, to termination on grounds of material prejudice.

Sellers are therefore encouraged to take the time to gather all the necessary information and ensure that it is accurate before placing their property on the market.

As the implementation of the Property Law Bill 2023 draws nearer, it will be interesting to see how these new statutory disclosure requirements impact the property market. 

CONCLUSION

The Property Law Bill 2023 introduces statutory disclosure requirements for property sellers in Queensland, aiming to provide buyers with essential information for informed decision-making. If implemented, sellers will face increased obligations to provide accurate and comprehensive property information. As the Bill’s implementation nears, it remains to be seen how these new requirements will affect the property market.

It is anticipated the Bill will be passed in September or October 2023, but commencement will be delayed by six to 12 months to allow for consultation on the new Property Law Regulations and education.

Remember, if you are thinking of selling or need any help or advice, I am just a phone call away.

All the best, Simon

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