Premier must be kept to “one contract” promise by end of February
This week Anna Bligh released a media statement to promote her newfound enthusiasm to “create a single contract” for residential real estate to reduce consumer conveyancing charges and to lessen suffocating red tape for the industry.
We assume by “one contract” she means a single disclosure obligation contained in the body of a contract - compared to the up to 10 separate forms that can now apply – rather than a government mandated contract form.
“We intend to rid the industry of unnecessary complications making it easier to buy and sell a home in Queensland,” said the Premier in her statement.
It ‘s about time. Carter Capner Law has been a vocal part of the campaign over the last 3 years for reform of Queensland’s absurd and useless compliance rules.
But can we have any confidence that it will really happen? Is it just another never-will-be-fulfilled promise by media statement like that of her deputy in June concerning deregulation of agents commission?
Certainly a looming election adds urgency but even if an epiphany has struck our politicos and bureaucrats with the realisation that the $12.5 million wasted every month for zero gain just has to go, how can this mess be solved “by the end of February”?
The Queensland Law Society chimed in the following day that it welcomes “announcement to consolidate disclosure requirements…..but is guarded about proposed changes to move to “one contract”.
It’s obvious there’s concern at MP level that this issue could be an election sleeper. The media statement came only two days before the election announcement: a “clear the decks” measure to try to stem a backlash from the industry and its clients. Real estate offices can quickly become a network of PR machines that can influence the voting public’s intentions.
Let’s keep the premier to her word. Send an email reminder today to the minister to urge on her what needs to be done.
The current multitude of forms and disclosure is as confusing to buyers as it is useless as a consumer protection measure. The forms are mostly ignored. The farce would be highly amusing if being a complete waste of time was it the only fault. Tragically, transaction and disputations costs are painfully real and enormous: the resulting mayhem is nothing less than a catastrophe.
Abolition of the form 30 C statement, incorporating a warning into the residential contract and elimination of the PAMDA requirement for “attention directing” notifications are top of the list.
But there are many others. Send the Premier a checklist of all the issues that require urgent fixing:-
- Land Sales Act disclosure must be incorporated into the one single buyer disclosure statement;
- Tripwire form filling requirements for forms 27c & 22a etc – with their associated triple whammy of agent risk: no commission, being sued & fines – have to go;
- BCCMA forms – s 206 disclosure; the BCCM 14 warning statement and CMS – must be incorporated into one single buyer disclosure statement;
- The PAMDA “residential property” definition must be clarified to remove it as a source of dispute;
- A single event disclosure requirement for options rather than needing compliance BOTH at the time of agreement and every time the option is exercised;
- The prohibition on lawyers, who have even the remotest business connection to the agent, giving cooling off advice, must be removed;
- Sustainability declaration must go;
- Pool safety warnings must be incorporated into the one single buyer disclosure statement;
- Tree branch compliance must be incorporated into the one single buyer disclosure statement.
If they pull out all the stops, this can all be achieved by amending and passing what will become the Property Agents Act 2012.
Any new law will also impose re-numbering of approved forms and require replacement of pro forma notices and office precedents. The hours of re-tooling and re-training will be a bitter pill to swallow – particularly after the nauseating swill that has been dished up for the last 12 years – but worth it if done properly.