Reform of the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000 one step closer

The impending repeal of the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000 (PAMDA) is one step closer since the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee recommended that the proposed replacement legislation be passed.

The following Bills were introduced to the Queensland Parliament on 20 November 2013 and, if passed, will repeal and replace PAMDA:

  • Agents Financial Administration Bill 2013
  • Debt Collectors (Field Agents and Collection Agents) Bill 2013
  • Motor Dealers and Chattel Auctioneers Bill 2013
  • Property Occupations Bill 2013.

The Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee tabled reports about the Bills in Parliament on 24 February 2014 and recommended that all four be passed with some changes. The Bills will now proceed to the second reading stage and debate.

The Bills simplify and reduce the regulatory requirements imposed by PAMDA for the relevant licensed industries. The most significant changes are made in the Property Occupations Bill and relate to residential property sales and real estate agents.

Real estate agents
  • The nine existing categories of real estate licence will be consolidated and reduced to three.
  • The existing four categories of registered employees will be reduced to one.
  • Property developers and their employees will no longer need a licence.
  • The cap on real estate agent commissions will be removed.
Warning statements
  • The provisions about warning statements for residential property contracts will be significantly altered. The Bill replaces the existing technical and somewhat problematic provisions with a simple requirement for a prescribed statement to be included in particular residential property contracts.
  • The new prescribed statement will appear immediately above where the buyer signs the contract. There will be no requirement to draw the buyer’s attention to the statement.
  • A failure to include the prescribed statement will expose the seller to a penalty, but buyers will no longer have the right to terminate the contract.
Cooling-off period
  • Buyers will not be required to provide a lawyer’s certificate to waive their cooling-off period and may do so simply by giving the seller written notice.
  • Currently, the cooling-off period does not apply to contracts formed on the fall of the hammer at auction. That exception will be extended to include contracts entered into within two business days of the auction, provided the buyer was a registered bidder.
  • The cooling-off period will not apply to ‘sophisticated party transactions’ where the buyer is:
    • the government or a statutory authority
    • a listed public company or its subsidiary
    • buying three or more lots at the same time.
  • The Bill clarifies that the cooling-off period applies to an option contract, but not the contract that is formed upon the option being exercised.
Definition of residential property

‘Residential property’ is defined in the Property Occupations Bill as real property that is used, or intended to be used, for residential purposes. It will not include real property used primarily for the purposes of industry, commerce or primary production.

Motor vehicle sales

In addition to the changes affecting residential property sales in the Property Occupations Bill, there are also changes to the regulation of vehicle sales in the Motor Dealers and Chattel Auctioneers Bill. One significant change is that the statutory warranties will only apply to vehicles falling within the existing ‘class A’ definition (vehicles that are no more than 10 years old and have travelled less than 160 km).

Crown Law will continue to monitor passage of the bills and will issue a further legal update once they have been passed by Parliament.

The information in this publication is provided for general purposes only. It is not to be relied on as a substitute for legal advice. Crown Law and the Department of Justice and Attorney-General accept no liability for losses caused by reliance on the material in this publication. Formal legal advice should be obtained for particular matters.

Published: 1 March 2014

Author: Catherine Jackson