New reforms to provide better protection to buyers of off the plan properties

New laws are set to be introduced to Parliament later this year which will offer stronger protections to buyers of off the plan properties and will also offer greater flexibility around electronic agreements and signing digitally.

What further protections are likely to be made into law?

  • a new vendor disclosure regime which requires developers who sell off the plan to attach to the Contract a Disclosure Statement which includes:
    • a copy of the proposed plan including details of registered dealings, such as easements and covenants;
    • for strata and community plan properties – a copy of the proposed by-laws for the scheme;
    • a schedule of finishes where building work forms part of the contract.
  • a vendor will need to notify the purchaser of any changesmade during the development and the purchaser will have the following rights:
    • if the purchaser is materially impacted by the change, he/she may rescind the Contract; or
    • a limited right to claim compensation if they are materially impacted by a change.
  • a broader definition of ‘sunset clause’;
  • the cooling off period for off the plan contracts is to be extended to 10 business days with deposits to be held in a controlled account.

Lastly, in keeping in line with the general transition to e-conveyancing and living in an online world – parties will be able to enter into contracts electronically with digital signing and witnessing to be permissible.  Vendor disclosure may also be provided electronically.

The above changes will no doubt be welcomed by buyers of off-the-plan properties as we have all too often read in the past about purchasers being left with little or no remedy against developers.  We will put out a blog when the above has become law.