Brendan Wong and Steven Cross
The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) has welcomed the Queensland government’s two new pieces of draft legislation, which it says will cut red tape and make it simpler to buy and sell properties in the state.
The industry body said the Property Occupations Bill (PO Bill) and the Agents Financial Administration Bill (AFA Bill) that were introduced last week were the result of more than a year of collaboration between the state government and the industry.
“The real estate sector has long been legislatively bundled in with a variety of other occupations and the REIQ always felt that our profession deserved its own specific legislation,” said REIQ chairman Pamela Bennett.
“For more than a year, the institute has fought for major legal reforms during the review of the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act (PAMD Act) and the splitting of the PAMD Act into occupation-specific legislation.”
The proposed legislative amendments include:
- Removing the requirement for agents to disclose to a buyer the commission the agent is receiving from the seller
- Extending the statutory limit on lengths of appointments for a sole or exclusive agency from 60 days to 90 days to better reflect market realities
- Deregulating the maximum commissions payable
- Abolishment of a separate Warning Statement. Instead, this will be included in the relevant contract
- Stricter disclosure of third party benefits to buyers
REIQ CEO Anton Kardash said he was thrilled the government’s consultation with the REIQ had resulted in a significant number of positive changes for the real estate sector.
“The REIQ always wanted this landmark piece of legislation to provide much-needed simplification and clarification for real estate agents and consumers alike, and the reforms announced last night have certainly provided that," he said.
“A majority of the changes also allow for the real estate industry to become more professional and ultimately more accountable, and that is good news for everyone as well as for the property market.”
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said the overhaul of the PAMD Act would allow Queenslanders to make large purchases without the unnecessary burden of red tape and regulation that existed under Labor.
“Queenslanders will have a far simpler and streamlined system under this government,” Mr Bleijie said.
“Lengthy contracts can often do more harm than good, with many people either skimming over important information or in some cases, people are not reading the finer detail at all.
“Buying a house or car 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.”
Speaking specifically on the PO Bill, LJ Hooker Queensland manager Paul Moore said he welcomed the draft legislation.
“From an industry point of view, it simplifies some things that had become overtly complicated under the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act and in particular, paperwork around appointments to act and contracts," he said.
“A lot of that was onerous and in excess of anything that was actually needed from a transaction point of view and from a consumer protection point of view.”
Mr Moore added the deregulation of fees would give agents the opportunity to be more flexible and offer different levels of service that would suit their marketplace.
He said the removal of the requirement to disclose commission to buyers would not be an issue for consumers.
“The real estate industry itself has never really charged excessive fees, but really the relationship between a seller and their agent - why is that a public matter?
“From a buyer’s point of view, the [PAMDA] legislation was brought in because there were agents who were adding up to $80,000 into the fee and that was excessive, but what a real estate agent charges has always been in that two to three per cent range and that’s certainly not excessive,” he said.