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Implementation of the Sale of Land Amendment Act 2019

Implementation of the Sale of Land Amendment Act 2019

By Property Law

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The LIV has written to Consumer Affairs Victoria to seek an amendment to proposed changes to the Sale of Land Amendment Act 2019 (“the Act”) which it felt would adversely affect regional and country Victorians.

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) sought feedback from the LIV in relation to the implementation of the provisions of the Act, which are to come into effect on a day or days to be proclaimed by no later than 1 March 2020. CAV sought feedback about the following implementation issues:

  1. Prescribing the “prescribed amount” under which terms contracts are prohibited;
  2. Prescribing exemptions to the general prohibition on rent-to-buy arrangements; and
  3. Producing guidelines to give guidance about what is likely to constitute a “material fact” for the purposes of section 12(d) of the Sale of Land Act 1962 (Vic).

In LIV's opinion the first two provisions, if implemented, would adversely impact regional and country Victorians. Where parties were prevented from entering into terms contracts, the property market prices outside metropolitan Melbourne, in the LIV’s view, would then suffer by reducing the number property transactions in regional and country Victoria. The LIV was also extremely concerned with the introduction of penalty provisions which were, in our view, excessive and disproportionate if parties were to be found to breach those provisions of the Act.

The LIV called on the CAV to exempt parties outside metropolitan Melbourne, and to allow parties, especially in country and regional Victoria, to enter into terms contracts. Alternatively the LIV suggested the ‘prescribed amount’ requirement to enter into terms contract, be set by the median house price by suburb, or region if suitable.

Further, the LIV is troubled by the introduction of further disclosure obligations under the Act, separate from and over and above those already required pursuant to Section 32 of the Act. In LIV's opinion it would complicate practitioners and agents professional and ethical duties owed to their vendor clients. The LIV foresees ambiguity and litigation by the introduction of requiring an additional disclosure of a “material fact” by a vendor. Yet again,  the LIV was extremely concerned about the introduction of a penalty provision which resulted in imprisonment for breach of this provision by vendors practitioners and/or their agents.


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