Property Law Act 2023: What You Need To Know

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Published by Preston Law on 19/04/2024

On the 25th October 2023 Queensland Parliament passed the Property Law Act 2023 (Qld) (the New Act). The New Act is expected to come into effect later this year and will, on commencement, replace the Property Law Act 1974.

The New Act includes substantial redrafting and new sections that have taken into consideration the substantial case law and commercial/contemporary changes to property law practice between 1974 and 2023. The landscape of property law is constantly evolving, and staying informed about recent changes is essential for both property owners and investors. The 2023 Act introduces several amendments that have profound implications for property transactions and ownership rights. In this blog post, we’ll delve into some of the key changes and discuss how these changes may affect you as a first-time buyer, property owner, or investor.

One of the primary objectives of the New Act is to streamline property transactions, making the process more efficient and transparent for all parties involved including the repeal of outdated and unnecessary provisions.

Seller Disclosure

One of the most important, if not the most important, change for most sellers and buyers of property is the introduction of seller disclosure statements for property transfers. Whilst the precise information required to be disclosed is yet to be determined it is evident from the draft Property Law Regulation 2023 that the Seller disclosure scheme will result in:

  1. Sellers being positively obliged to inform prospective buyers of substantially more matters affecting the property than they are presently required to including council zoning and services and providing further information/certification in circumstances where disclosures are made, e.g. in respect of notices under the Environmental Protection Act or Queensland building and construction commission; and
  2. Clear identification of those matters that are not required to be disclosed but may be relevant to a prospective buyers, such as natural hazard history (e.g. flooding).

Seller disclosure requirements will apply to nearly all property transactions including residential, commercial, vacant and industrial land sales, inclusive of those in community title schemes unless specifically excluded from the seller disclosure regime, e.g. a local government selling a lot for rates arrears.

The new sections provide the buyer with the ability to terminate the contract prior to settlement if the seller fails to disclose or make inaccurate disclosure, including if the seller fails to provide prescribed information with the disclosure. With clearer guidelines in place, property transactions are expected to proceed more smoothly, saving both time and resources for buyers and sellers.

Easements

The New Act is also making some changes to the obligations in easements and will have retrospective operation, meaning an examination of easement terms by buyers of property for positive obligations that will now bind successors in title is a must to understand any obligations that may be imposed upon an owner, including potential maintenance and repair obligations are fully understood as part of any investment decision. For example, a positive covenant such as a bushfire hazard reduction that requires owners to keep clear certain areas of a property will be binding against any future successors.

E-Conveyancing

In today’s digital age, property law is continuing to adapt, adopting electronic means for digital signing and electronic settlements. The new Property Law Act 2023 addresses this need by including new sections that deal with E-Conveyancing and impact of computer systems. Since 1974 technology and legal practice has changed significantly, we now have electronic title records and are able to complete in-house stamping to allow for quicker transactions. These changes are aimed at streamlining and securing the exchange of property and payments, fostering easier property transactions for the benefit of buyers, sellers and investors alike.

Navigating the complexities of property law can be daunting, especially in light of recent legislative changes. Whether you’re a seasoned property investor or a first-time buyer, seeking legal guidance is essential to ensure compliance with the law and protect your interests. At Preston Law, our team of experienced conveyancers and lawyers are here to assist you every step of the way. From reviewing contracts to resolving disputes, we offer comprehensive legal services tailored to your specific needs. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how the new Property Law Act 2023 may impact your property transactions.

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