This final report presents the recommendations of the Commercial and Property Law Research Centre (Centre) formulated after consideration of submissions received in response to the Queensland Government Property Law Review Issues Paper – Seller Disclosure in Queensland (Issues Paper, released on 12 February 2014) and the Interim Report: Seller Disclosure in Queensland (Interim Report, released on 21 July 2016). The Issues Paper identified a variety of difficulties associated with the current seller disclosure regime that impede its effectiveness in Queensland. The Interim Report proposed a number of recommendations to address these difficulties and sought further input from the public. All stakeholders were supportive of a more streamlined, coordinated and transparent approach to seller disclosure in Queensland provided an appropriate balance could be achieved between the interests of buyers and the potential cost burden to sellers.
In this final report, the Centre recommends the introduction of a statutory seller disclosure regime for all sales of freehold land underpinned by several guiding principles. The aim of the guiding principles is to achieve the important reform objectives of:
1. clarity: clarifying the disclosure obligations of a seller;
2. transparency: requiring a transparent and effective form of disclosure;
3. value: providing information of value to the decision of a buyer to purchase; and
4. balance: balancing the information cost between buyer and seller.
The recommendations propose a staged reform process aimed at achieving a single statutory framework for seller disclosure in sales of land.
As part of the first stage of implementation the recommendations do not fundamentally change the information which is currently required to be disclosed in Queensland but aim to improve the conveyancing process by:
A. initiating a process for incorporating all seller disclosures obligations for freehold land within one statute applying to land;
B. simplifying the form of disclosure information given to a buyer through the use of a seller statement and body corporate certificate;
C. requiring all disclosure to occur at an early point in the transaction so a buyer’s decision to purchase can be appropriately informed; and
D. limiting disclosure obligations to information that is readily accessible at reasonable cost and of value to a buyer at the time of making a decision to purchase a property.