The Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000 (QLD) (Act) will be repealed on 1 December 2014 and replaced with four new Acts, namely:

  • Property Occupations Act 2014;
  • Motor Dealers and Chattel Auctioneers Act 2014;
  • Debt Collectors (Field Agents and Collection Agents) Act 2014; and
  • Agents Financial Administration Act 2014.

The amendments to the Land Sales Act 1984 and the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1994 will also commence on the same day.

The key objectives of the legislative changes are to reduce red tape and improve the operation of the legislation.

Sale of residential property

The cooling off period for buyers of residential property has been retained, but the procedure for signing contracts and the consequences of errors being made have been relaxed.

Importantly, there is no longer a requirement for warning statements (PAMD 30C and the BCCM Information Sheet) to be attached to the contract or for the seller or the seller’s agent to draw the buyer’s attention to a warning statement.

Instead, contracts of sale for residential property must include the following short statement immediately above the place where the buyer signs the contract:

The contract may be subject to a 5 business day statutory cooling-off period. A termination penalty of 0.25% of the purchase price applies if the buyer terminates the contract during the statutory cooling-off period. It is recommended the buyer obtain an independent property valuation and independent legal advice about the contract and his or her cooling-off rights, before signing.

The statement must be included in any contract of sale executed or entered into from 1 December 2014.

Significantly, however, buyers will not have a right of termination if the statement is not included or it is in the wrong place. The penalty for non-compliance is a fine of up to $22,000 for individuals or $110,000 for corporations.

Two further important changes are that:

  1. the cooling off period will not apply to contracts entered into within two business days of an auction being held if the buyer was a registered bidder at auction. The cooling off period continues to be excluded for residential property sold at auction; and
  2. a buyer, rather than a buyer’s solicitor, can now waive or shorten the cooling off period by giving a written notice to the seller.

These are only some of the legislative changes. There are others that relate to the regulation of “off the plan” sales, licences for property developers and residential letting agents as well as the deregulation of agent’s commission payable on a sale.

Debt collection

The regulation of commercial agents (debt collectors) will change from 1 December 2014 with the introduction of the Debt Collectors (Field Agents and Collection Agents) Act 2014 and the Agents Financial Administration Act 2014.

Generally debt collectors are not required to obtain a licence, but a field agent (i.e. an agent who engages in face-to-face communication with the debtor) must be licenced in Queensland.

Lawyers who collect debts as part of their legal practice are not required to be licenced.

There are also other legislative requirements for the appointment of a commercial agent, namely that the appointment be made in writing, signed and dated by both the client and service provider, include a description of the service to be performed as well as the fees, charges and any commission payable for the service.