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30 May 2016 Posted by 


Reforms target rogue developers

By Victor Dominello
NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation

THE property industry is worth over $50 billion to the NSW economy.

As Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation I am pursuing a range of property and real estate reforms that aim to protect buyers, owners and tenants and enhance the property sector.

This is an issue that I take very seriously and in my 14 months in this portfolio I have passed through the NSW Parliament three key reforms that have had an immediate impact on people’s lives and will continue to far into the future.

New Underquoting Laws Protecting Consumers

The property market is red hot in Sydney. Buying a property is a life changing decision and it is an incredibly complex process requiring significant time and financial commitment.

I wanted to make sure government regulation supported consumers through this process and I worked with industry on amendments to the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 to strengthen underquoting laws to protect consumers.

Since the new laws took effect on 1 January, we’ve seen a significant cultural and behavioural change in the industry. The practice of price baiting, including the use of inducements like “offers above” and “offers over”, has all but evaporated.

In March NSW Fair Trading undertook an underquoting compliance blitz across the state.

This resulted in $53,900 worth of penalty infringement notices and a further 23 warning letters issued to real estate businesses. The government continues to work with industry groups to ensure the laws continue to benefit consumers.

21st Century Strata Laws Coming Soon

The NSW Government recently consulted on the regulations that will accompany the new strata laws that come into effect later this year. These once in a generation reforms are modern and reflect 21st century strata living.

By 2040, half of people in NSW will either be living or working in strata and it is important that we have flexible and sensible laws.

Over 90 changes were made to the laws including the introduction of a strata defects bond to better protect buyers against building defects; making it easier for owners to complete cosmetic and minor renovations; and new model by-laws for pets and parking.

Sun Sets on Rogue Developers

In November last year I acted swiftly to protect buyers from rogue developers. Some NSW buyers had reportedly had their contracts rescinded by a developer using the sunset clause, only for the land or apartment to be re-sold the same day for a higher price.

The government introduced legislation to make developers seek the consent of the purchase if they wish to rescind on the contract using the sunset clause, and if necessary obtain the leave of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

I am pleased to report that these new laws are working and have stopped rogue developers dead in their tracks. Purchasing a property is a life changing decision and buyers deserve certainty and fairness.

It is important that we have a robust property market that adequately balances the protections between sellers, buyers, landlords, agents and tenants.

It is to everyone’s benefit that the obligations of everyone involved in the property industry are clearly defined and rigorously defended.

I will continue to work in this space and welcome the input of industry and consumers in doing so.



Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
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