Have your say on ‘off the plan’ consumer protections

Published Monday, 22 August, 2022 at 11:53 AM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

The Palaszczuk Government wants to hear from home buyers and developers to inform possible reforms to better protect property buyers who have signed an ‘off the plan’ contract.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said she has listened to the concerns of buyers around ‘off the plan’ contracts, including the impact of seller supported ‘sunset clauses’ on Queensland buyers.

“Since the pandemic we have seen more people move to Queensland, resulting in growing property sales including buying ‘off the plan’ developments,” the Attorney said.

“I am aware of recent reports of developers terminating contracts for “off the plan” sale of land if the contract is not settled within a specified timeframe.

“At the same time, property prices have been rising, which may leave these buyers with limited or no options within their budget.

“That’s why the Palaszczuk Government is asking both home buyers and property developers to have their say on these residential property laws.”

Member for Gaven Meaghan Scanlon said since the pandemic more people were moving to the Gold Coast, resulting industry planning for and developing more housing supply.

“Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions and investments Queenslanders will make in their lifetime – so it’s really important that they’re protected when entering a contract for an off the plan development,” Ms Scanlon said.

“I would encourage property buyers and industry on the Gold Coast to have their say through the online surveys.”

Two key issues that have emerged in relation to off the plan property contracts are being examined as part of the government’s Property Law Review:

  • use of sunset clauses by property developers to terminate contracts, and
  • early release of buyer deposits to property developers.”

There are two online surveys - one for buyers and one for property developers. Both surveys are on the Office of Fair Trading website: Sunset clauses and early release of deposits | Your rights, crime and the law | Queensland Government (www.qld.gov.au)

As property law is a complex area that applies to a range of different circumstances, it is important that all stakeholders have their say to ensure any legislative solutions to the issues being faced do not have unintended consequences.

The Attorney-General recommended caution when signing a purchase contract.

“Off the plan residential property contracts are complex and involve non-standard terms,” she said.

“They also involve risks for both the developer and buyer, such as changing property values over the period of the contract.

“I strongly urge anyone looking to buy off the plan to seek legal advice before signing a contract.”

The consultation will close on 14 September 2022.

For information about the consultation and to have your say, visit: Sunset clauses and early release of deposits | Your rights, crime and the law | Queensland Government (www.qld.gov.au).

For information and tips on buying ‘off the plan’, visit www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading.

Separately, a review of the role of developers in the building and construction industry is being undertaken by the Developer Review Panel, focusing primarily on security of payment, and building quality and safety outcomes. Further information on the work of the Developer Review Panel is available at: https://www.epw.qld.gov.au/about/initiatives/review-developers-building



Media contact:           Inga Williams         0439 949 719