“Ugly” PAMDA – the unforgettable monster-like version partly decapitated last October – is still winding its way through Queensland’s courts.

Its hideous form was last seen in the Court of Appeal when a defaulting buyer had a second shot at escaping  a luxury purchase, almost 4 years after he walked into a real estate office with an offer on a Q1 Penthouse at Surfers Paradise in April 2007.

The dispute concerned an amendment to a proposed contract after the contract and form 30C warning statement were first signed by the buyer, but before the seller had signed.

The buyer argued that the amendment – requested by the seller – constituted a “new proposed relevant contract” requiring the contract presentation procedures to be repeated and the form 30C warning statement to be signed again.

Last year, the Supreme Court refused an out to the buyer on PAMDA grounds, even though the seller’s request for minor variations may have constituted a “counter-offer”.

On appeal, this decision was affirmed but – for good measure – the court decided, notwithstanding the minor variations made, it remained the same “proposed relevant contract” to which the signed form 30C warning statement had been attached and which continued to validly apply.

Changes made by the buyer before the seller signs should not, said the court, be characterised as a “counter-offer”.

The buyer’s appeal – he was self-represented for the latest encounter – was dismissed and the June 2010 ruling requiring him to stump up the purchase price plus nearly $1 million in interest, was affirmed.

That’s one long overdue payday for our agent – Lucy Cole of Surfers Paradise – who was also unsucessfully sued by the hapless buyer. Getting her hands on the commission may just be another story.

Given that the horror version PAMDA regime has now changed, decisions that interpret “ugly” PAMDA are, to some extent, yesterday’s news.

But there are sure to be plenty more to come and Take the law… will continue to serve them up. Each one is a further sad chapter in this very sorry tale of wasteful and disgraceful mal-administration by the Queensland real estate industry regulator: the Department of Fair Trading its minister in charge.

Fletcher v Kakemoto & Anor [2011] QCA 046 Margaret McMurdo P, Chesterman JA and Philippides J 18/03/2011


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