Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie is delivering on his post-election promise – first made in May in response to a radio interview with Peter Carter – to slash PAMDA red tape that is suffocating Queensland’s real estate and property development industries.
Bleijie, a solicitor in a former life, was a member of a Parliamentary committee that in 2011 recommended the Property Agents Bill eliminate the PAMDA requirement for “attention directing” pre-contract notifications and that buyer warning statements be incorporated into the contracts itself.
The primary intent of that Bill – as is the case of the new legislation being drafted as we write – is the separation of real estate regulation from other industries currently covered under PAMDA.
While acknowledging that the current multitude of forms and disclosure is confusing, Bleijie has not committed to – as the industry has pleaded for – a single disclosure obligation to be contained in the body of the contract itself, as compared to the up to 10 separate pre-contract forms that can now apply to a residential real estate contract.
The forms are mostly ignored but tragically, the transaction and disputation costs borne by consumers and real estate offices under the pointless regime, has been nothing less than a catastrophe.
The reforms – once they come into force after nearly 13 years of regulatory chaos – must, if they are to be of any serious value, be comprehensive.
Abolition of the form 30 C statement, incorporating a warning into the residential contract and elimination of the PAMDA requirement for “attention directing” notifications are priorities of course.
But there are many other fixes needed that bear repeating while the draftsman’s pen is still in his (or her) hand:-
- Tripwire form filling requirements for forms 27c & 22a etc – with their associated triple whammy of agent risk: no commission, being sued & fines – have to go;
- BCCMA forms – s 206 disclosure; the BCCM 14 warning statement and CMS – must be incorporated into one single buyer disclosure statement;
- The PAMDA “residential property” definition must be clarified to remove it as a source of dispute;
- Land Sales Act disclosure must be incorporated into the one single buyer disclosure statement;
- A single event disclosure requirement for options rather than needing compliance BOTH at the time of agreement and every time the option is exercised;
- The prohibition on lawyers, who have even the remotest business connection to the agent, giving cooling off advice, must be removed;
- Pool safety warnings must also be incorporated into the one single buyer disclosure statement;
- Tree branch compliance must likewise be incorporated into the disclosure.
Any new law will impose re-numbering of approved forms and require replacement of pro forma notices and office precedents. The hours of re-tooling and re-training will be a bitter pill to swallow – particularly after the mess that the industry has endured for so long – but well worth the pain if the reforms are done thoroughly.