New ‘off the plan’ reforms recently passed in Parliament are aimed at protecting families buying new homes as well as revitalising Queensland’s construction industry.

Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie explained that the Land Sales and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 was built on the Government’s commitment to grow Queensland’s four-pillar economy and revitalise frontline services by cutting waste and red tape.

According to Mr Bleijie, these reforms will make Queensland an even more attractive place to live and work by promoting growth and investment, which in turn creates jobs and opportunities for Queenslanders. By increasing buyer protection and reducing burdensome red tape for ‘off the plan’ housing projects at the same time, the new reforms are a win-win for families and the industry.

Buying a property is one of the biggest decisions made by most people in their lifetime. By modernising the current system, families wanting to buy a new home will have easier access to key information about a proposed off the plan property, such as proposed earthworks, construction of buildings or retaining walls during the sale process.

According to the new reforms, buyers interested in community titles developments will be informed about the size, location and floor level of the apartment as well as details of common property on the same floor. After extensive consultation with the property industry, administrative processes would also be streamlined to avoid the need for complicated forms while duplicated disclosure obligations would be removed.

Buyers and sellers would also be given the freedom to make their own contractual agreement on small non-community title developments of five lots or less to remove undue interference from Government. By minimising bureaucratic involvement in minor negotiations, the Government hopes to reduce costs and other burdens to Queenslanders buying and selling property.

Key reforms also include removing restrictions on selling unregistered, reconfigured land by allowing it to be sold prior to receiving the relevant development permits; increasing the maximum deposit limit from 10 to 20 per cent of the purchase price to help finance major projects; removing offences relating to compliance with seller disclosure requirements where buyer termination rights apply; more flexibility for buyers and sellers of proposed lots in community titles schemes to contractually agree on the time for the seller to provide a title transfer form, up to 5½ years; and modernising legislative terminology and streamlining buyer termination rights for different types of developments.