26 September 2023

Off plan property purchases open for comment

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The Department of Justice wants to hear from home buyers and developers to inform possible reforms to protect property buyers who have signed an ‘off-the -plan’ contract better.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Shannon Fentiman said she had listened to the concerns of buyers around off-the-plan contracts, including the impact of seller-supported ‘sunset clauses’ on Queensland buyers.

“Since the pandemic we have seen more people move to Queensland, resulting in growing property sales including buying off-the-plan developments,” Ms Fentiman said.

“I am aware of recent reports of developers terminating contracts for off-the-plan sales of land if the contract is not settled within a specified timeframe.”

She said that at the same time, property prices had been rising, which might leave buyers with limited or no options within their budget.

The Department said it was concentrating on two key issues that had emerged in relation to off-the-plan property contracts.

These were the use of sunset clauses by property developers to terminate contracts, and the early release of buyer deposits to property developers.

Ms Fentiman said property law was a complex area that applied to a range of different circumstances, so it was important all stakeholders had their say to ensure any legislative solutions to the issues did not have unintended consequences.

She recommended caution when signing a purchase contract.

“Off-the-plan residential property contracts are complex and involve non-standard terms. They also involve risks for both the developer and buyer, such as changing property values over the period of the contract,” the Minister said.

“I strongly urge anyone looking to buy off the plan to seek legal advice before signing a contract,” Ms Fentiman said.

For information about the consultation and to have your say, visit this PS News link.

The consultation will close on 14 September.

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