The Sale of Land Amendment Bill 2018 (Vic) proposes to limit the ability of developers to rescind an off-the-plan contract of sale because either a plan is not registered or an occupancy permit is not issued before a specified sunset date. Before rescinding an off-the-plan contract of sale, a developer will have to first obtain a purchaser's consent. In obtaining that consent, the development must give reasons why the contract of sale is to be rescinded and the reasons for any delays in registering the plan or issuing an occupancy permit. A purchaser will have 28 days to respond to the request and will not be obliged to consent.
In its current form, the restriction will apply to all off-the-plan contracts of sale regardless of when they were entered into and will apply to any attempted rescissions after 23 August 2018.
If a purchaser withholds consent, the Bill proposes to enable developers to seek an order from the Supreme Court of Victoria to rescind a contract of sale pursuant to a sunset clause.
The Bill, when passed, will mean that the treatment of sunset clauses in Victoria will be similar to NSW where limitations on the abilities of developers to rescind under sunset clauses have been in place since later 2015. These developments in Victoria may be indicative of a trend to introduce legislative limitations on developers' rights in those jurisdictions experiencing a surge in off-the-plan contracts for sale.