Agent Alert – Queensland Legislation Impacts

How do changes in Queensland legislation affect real estate agents?

When new legislation is passed in Queensland, Law Essentials reviews the changes and sends out Agent Alerts to highlight the impact to real estate agents. We share these when something affects, property sales or property purchases in Queensland. It’s helpful to understand what the legislation means in the real world and how it affects real estate agents, property sellers and property buyers. Please note that all agent alert information was accurate at the time originally published. It is general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice specific to your situation

Special Conditions

Special conditions may be added to property sale contracts by the buyer or seller. Learn about Contract Special Conditions in Queensland

26 October 2021 Agent Alert

This is another Agent Alert which we hope will be of assistance to you.

As you are aware, the Government introduced new legislation that began its roll out for property owners in 2017.

Time certainly flies and now that second wave of impacted property owners will come into effect on 1 January 2022

Those affected are as follows:-

  • Any property sold; and
  • Any property being leased

So that means the second wave will likely affect contracts being prepared now – so be on the lookout.

Even though it is the Seller that makes the declaration on the contract that there are compliant smoke alarms installed at the property, we think it is essential that you (as the Agent) familiarise yourself with the requirements above so that you can ensure the Seller is making the correct disclosure at the time of entering into a contract.

We do not expect the average Seller (at least in the short term) to be all over the new legislation requirements.

With you being able to at least inform the Seller of the requirements, this should avoid any dispute with the Seller if they inadvertently make a false declaration. If the Seller makes a false disclosure they would be in breach of their terms of contract and could leave them exposed to the Buyer.  It could be that the Buyer terminates a contract that you worked so hard to get.

Naturally in this situation, the Seller would want to point the finger of blame, which could ultimately be directed at you as the sales agent who prepared the contract. We just want you to let you know how to better protect yourself.

Here is a link to the relevant website setting out the new legislation for your reference https://www.qld.gov.au/about/newsroom/new-smoke-alarm-laws

The last rollout of the legislation will come into effect for ALL property owners on 1 January 2027, ie: every single house is to have photoelectric interconnected smoke alarms installed.

22 August 2019 Agent Alert

NEW REIQ CONTRACTS – AGENT ALERT/UPDATE AUGUST 2019

This is an agent alert courtesy of Law Essentials.

As you would no doubt be aware, the REIQ have introduced new/updated contract editions for:-

  • Contracts for Houses and Residential Land
  • Contracts for Residential Lots in a Community Titles Scheme
  • Contract for Commercial Land and Buildings
  • Contract for Commercial Lots in a Community Titles Scheme

This email is simply designed to bring to the attention of those who may not have been alerted to the new REIQ changes  and to be aware that the changes are to come into effect TODAY.

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOU?

The answer is – really there are no major legislative changes that would affect your day to day dealings with preparing and exchanging these new REIQ editions.

There have been some minor word changes and definition amendments to accord with the new wording in the appropriate clauses.

JUST MAKE CERTAIN YOU ARE ONLY SIGNING UP PEOPLE ON THE NEW CONTRACTS.  BIN ALL OTHER VERSIONS IMMEDIATELY.

We have provided to you a simple Power Point slide presentation to detail the exact clause amendments and set out what each edition of the new contracts are.

19 June 2018 – AGENT ALERT

GST WITHOLDING & FIRST HOME BUYER SUPER SAVER SCHEME – NEW LEGISLATION AND REQUIREMENTS FOR CONTRACTS

THIS IS OUR AGENT’s ALERT EMAIL which we hope you find of some assistance.

There are major updates with Queensland Legislation impacting parties to a contract that begins on 1 July 2018.

  1. GST withholding for property developers; and
  2. First Home Buyers utilising salary sacrificed super to assist with their deposit to purchase – known as the “First Home Buyer Super Saver Scheme”

This email is designed to assist you by setting out what those changes are and what an Agent’s role might be to ensure that all parties to the contract are aware of their rights and/or obligations.

(1) GST WITHHOLDING FOR PROPERTY DEVELOPERS

This legislation has come about from some developers completing developments, then declaring their company insolvent without paying the GST.  From 1 July 2018 the new GST laws will affect transactions of:-

(i)                  new residential premises, or

(ii)                 potential residential land.

The Purchaser will be required to withhold the taxable amount from the purchase price. This must be paid directly to the ATO at settlement. The withholding amount will generally be either 10% calculated on the contract price, or if the parties have agreed the margin scheme applies, 7% of the contract price.

You may be asking yourself – how does this affect me as an Agent?  Certainly it is the Developer’s duty to give notice to the Purchaser as to whether GST witholding applies, the amount and when it is to be paid.  The Developer can be fined up to $105,000.00 for not providing the notice.

Although the Agent is not part of the notice requirement above, we recommend you still take interest with the following:-

  1. Is the notice in the contract? – the notice can be either in the contract itself or on a separate document.  It would be less confusing if it was in the contract itself and could save the Seller/Developer from a hefty fine.  Even if the notice wasn’t provided, the Purchaser still must withhold the GST.
  1. Will the Seller/Developer have enough money to pay out their bank mortgage if GST must be withheld from the sale price?If the Seller/Developer is not aware of their requirements before entering into the contract they may not be able to complete the sale if there are not sufficient funds once the GST has been withheld. This could potentially do you out of your commission if the sale falls through. Not to mention the heartache for the Purchaser. 
  1. Is the Purchaser aware that if they are buying a new residential premises, or potential residential land, that it is their duty to withhold this amount at settlement?

More information can be found on the ATO website. This should be kept handy and perhaps provided to each party of a transaction falling into any of the above categories. https://www.ato.gov.au/newsroom/smallbusiness/gst-and-excise/changes-to-gst-on-property-transactions/?utm_source=QLS+newsletters+list+%7C+2017&utm_campaign=7fcf8c8fcc-qls-update-16May2018&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e21c5fd41e-7fcf8c8fcc-183233329

The simple fact is that as the Agent, you need to be careful what you say (or sometimes what you do not say) to the Seller or Purchaser at the contract signing stage.  Unfortunately it is often the case that the Seller or Purchaser will later try to shift blame to the Agent.  Knowing the above will assist you greatly that you have at least mentioned it to them before they sign.

(2) FIRST HOME BUYER SUPER SAVER SCHEME

The Australian Taxation Office have passed new legislation that allows a first time buyer to access up to $30,000.00 of voluntarily contributed super toward the purchase of their home.

Eligible Purchasers will have the ability from 1 July 2018 to apply to have up to $15,000.00 of their voluntary contributions per financial year to a maximum of $30,000.00 in total.

The strict eligibility requirements are:-

  • they must live in the premises they are buying;

·       they must live in the property for up to least six months of the first 12 months they own it;

  • they must not have owned property in Australia before – this includes an investment property, vacant land, commercial property, a lease of land in Australia, or a company title interest in land;
  • they must not have previously applied to the Commissioner to issue a FHSS release authority in relation to the scheme.

There is a further eligibility avenue (on a case by case basis) to apply if the ATO determines that a person has suffered financial hardship that may result in them not being able to purchase a property without access to their voluntary contributed super.

This is noteworthy legislation to be aware of, as most of you have no doubt encountered Purchasers that do not have readily available savings at their disposal, which could negatively impact on their finance application. It may be that any savings have been contributed to their super. So before a Purchaser thinks there is no hope left, ask them – have you salary sacrificed your super? or have you made voluntary contributions to your super? These simple questions might get the deal over the line. 

For more information visit the ato website https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Super/Super-housing-measures/First-Home-Super-Saver-Scheme/   

Regards,

CHRIS THOMPSON| Director/Solicitor