Divisive price guide laws pass

Controversial reforms have been hailed a "win-win for all Queenslanders" after the state government passed the laws yesterday – but a majority of the industry still oppose the changes.

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) was the first to welcome the split of the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act, creating an industry-specific legislation.

“The REIQ has been fighting for industry-specific legislation for many years on behalf of our members and for the betterment of the entire profession in Queensland,” said chairman Rob Honeycombe.

The main changes include:

  • Removing the use of price guides at auction
  • Removing the requirement for agents to disclose commission arrangements with a buyer
  • Extending the statutory limit on lengths of appointments for a sole or exclusive agency from 60 days to 90 days
  • Deregulating the maximum commissions rates to allow contractual freedom 
  • Abolishment of a separate Warning Statement. Instead this will be included in the relevant contract
  • Stricter disclosure of third-party benefits to buyers

“The new laws will also empower consumers as never before, making it easier than ever for them to navigate the entire spectrum of real estate transactions,” Mr Honeycombe said.

CEO of the REIQ Anton Kardash agreed.

“They’re also a win for consumers, who are going to enjoy greater transparency in situations where they’re looking to buy a property at auction," he said.

“The amended laws governing auction price guides reflect longstanding REIQ policy and we’re pleased the government has also incorporated feedback from other industry players on this issue.”

However, many industry commentators have claimed the changes will do the opposite – especially if similar reforms spread to other states.

Tom Panos, real estate coach and head of real estate sales at News Corp, said last week that the laws would take the industry back 30 years.

"The reason I’m unhappy with Queensland legislation is that I know buyers hate not having a rough idea on price,” said Mr Panos.  

"What would happen is the sellers of properties would lose the interest of buyers … because buyers will be turned off looking at things and not knowing whether they can afford it or not. They would stay away from properties where they were given no idea at all of the selling price. So, I think it would be against the vendor's best interests,” he added

However, Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie stood by the legislation, claiming the Property Occupations Act would allow Queenslanders to purchase property without the unnecessary burden of red tape and regulation that previously existed.

“Buying a house is one of the biggest decisions we can make in our lifetime and the simpler we can make the process, the greater Queenslanders are protected,” Mr Bleijie said.

“Lengthy contracts can often do more harm than good, with many people either skimming over important information or in some cases not reading the finer detail at all.

“Through splitting the previous act into industry-specific acts, respective industries can perform more effectively because they will have legislation which is tailored to their business.

“This is a win-win for all Queenslanders.”

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