Parliament will next week debate the Property Agents Bill and a review committee recommendation that buyer warning statements be incorporated into residential real estate contracts as well as the proposed elimination of the PAMDA requirement for “attention directing” pre-contract notifications.

The committee – which held public hearings during August and received detailed submissions including from the Queensland Law Society, ADL Software and REIQ – was ordered to publish its report last week, two months ahead of its scheduled deadline.

The abolition of separate warning statements and associated contract presentation rituals – what has been a millstone around the collective necks of Queensland real estate agents since 2000 – is one huge step forward but Government has shown no sign of heeding the industry’s call to roll-back much more of its crackpot regulation.

It is beyond dispute that the multitude of forms and disclosure is confusing to consumers to the extent that they are mostly ignored.

Though a paradox – it achieves the exact opposite of the intended benefit – this phenomenon has been tragically obvious for at least the last half decade.

Removal of the form 30c nonsense is only going part of the way to solve the problem.

Other issues that require urgent reform are:-

  • Tripwire form filling requirements for forms 27c & 22a etc – with their associated triple whammy of agent risk: no commission, being sued & fines – have NOT been ameliorated;
  • The multiplicity of BCCMA forms – s 206 disclosure; the BCCM 14 warning statement and CMS – remains UNADDRESSED;
  • The PAMDA “residential property” definition has NOT been clarified and will remain a source of dispute;
  • Options have been passed over and parties must STILL achieve PAMDA and LSA compliance BOTH at the time of agreement and every time the option is exercised;
  • Cooling off advice still CANNOT be given by a lawyer who has even the remotest business connection to the agent;
  • Land Sales Act disclosure remains a compliance hurdle.

The Bill carves off the real estate industry from PAMDA into what will become – if passed – the Property Agents Act 2011 (“PAA”) which was previously scheduled to start from 1 July 2012.

The new law will also impose re-numbering of approved forms and require replacement of pro forma notices and office precedents: hours of re-tooling and re-training that could have been avoided if these changes accompanied other amendments in October 2010.

Government will presumably take the opportunity to implement deregulation of commissions – announced in June – at the same time. Those provisions are not part of the current Bill.

So let’s see the detail of the ‘strong disclosure’ and of QCAT’s proposed jurisdiction over harsh and unconscionable commission so proper consultation can begin.

In the meantime, government is urged to save the Queensland economy from the millions of dollars wasted every month on compliance and disputation costs from absurd regulation, by adding a fix to ALL the remaining points of confusion, to its 2012 cure.


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