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New laws to crack down on dodgy developers

Australia’s construction crisis will cost $6.2 billion in remediation and associated costs, according to new research.

Property developers in Victoria will no longer be able to invoke sunset clauses to delay construction.

Changes under the Sale of Land Amendment Bill 2019 will mean developers will need written consent from the buyer or an order of the Supreme Court of Victoria to exercise a sunset clause.

These changes have been made to stop developers from potentially exploiting the clauses to delay construction of their project in order to terminate signed contracts of sale and then re-sell the property at a higher price.

The bill will also prohibit public auctions of land before 1pm on Anzac Day, strengthen the existing requirement for real estate agents to disclose facts about the property (such as a property’s history of being used as a drug laboratory or homicide site), and introduce greater protections for people who purchase options to buy land as part of a land banking scheme.

It will also prohibit terms contracts and rent-to-buy arrangements, with significant fines and potential jail time for vendors and third-party intermediaries.

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These laws will be backdated to 23 August 2018, when the legislation was first announced.

Victorian Consumer Affairs Minister Marlene Kairouz said the State Government is taking action to ensure Victorians aren’t being ripped off by dodgy developers.

“The days of misusing sunset clauses to make super profits are over,” she said.

“Families looking to buy also deserve to know whether a property was previously the site of a drug lab or a murder scene, and we’re ensuring that vendors and real estate agents disclose these important facts.

“This is about improving consumer protections and restoring balance so that hard-working families can enter the property market with confidence,” Kairouz said.