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Greater Transparency For Sunshine Coast Home Buyers - New Seller Disclosure Requirements

Greater transparency for Sunshine Coast home buyers – new seller disclosure requirements

The most significant changes to property law in Queensland in 50 years were passed today . The most fundamental change is the introduction of a mandatory seller disclosure regime for all sales of freehold land, including units.

Property laws across Australia currently vary state-by-state, and some non-Queensland based home buyers may be surprised to hear that there are currently very minimal seller disclosure requirements in Queensland.

In Queensland, it is very much a case of ‘buyer beware’, with the responsibility placed on buyers to investigate any defects and faults in a property and the land before progressing to an unconditional contract.

The new laws, when commenced, will strengthen buyer’s access to key information relating to a Queensland property, enabling you to make much more informed and educated decisions than before. Similar disclosure obligations already exist in other States, including New South Wales and Victoria.

The new laws will apply to:
• All freehold land, including units (with some exceptions)
• Sales by private treaty and auction.

Once commenced, sellers will be required to provide various information about the property they are selling before contract stage, and using an approved form with prescribed certificates attached. The type of information to be required to be disclosed and the form is still being finalised, but a link to the draft form can be found here.

Seller disclosure requirements will likely encompass information such as:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Building Work: Sellers will be required to provide information regarding any building work carried out by an unlicensed person.
  • 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.
    Rates and Water: Sellers will need to provide information about the property’s rates and water accounts.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 require disclosures on issues such as:
• 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
• Services that are, or may be, connected to the property.

Disclosure must be accurate at the time it is given. If there is a material inaccuracy or omission in the disclosed information and the buyer was not aware of this inaccuracy or omission at the time of contract, the buyer may terminate up until settlement.

Commencement of this law will be delayed by six to 12 months to allow for industry consultation and education on the new Property Law Regulations and education.

This change is a great step forward for buyers of Sunshine Coast properties, as you will soon have more information and knowledge to make informed decisions, with a legal remedy available should the seller fail to disclose required information.

Buyers will for course still need to undertake your own due diligence on other items not addressed in the seller disclosure statements, but the key issues relating to a property required to be disclosed by the seller will result in great transparency for home buyers.

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