On 1 December 2014, the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act PAMDA) was replaced by 4 new pieces of legislation, one of which was the Property Occupations Act 2014 (POA). Changes aimed at streamlining and simplifying property transactions include the following key features: The PAMDA Form 30C Warning Statement was abolished.
Contracts for residential property now only need to include a short statement immediately above the place where the buyer signs in the contract. This statement has been incorporated into the new 10th edition REIQ House and Land Contract.
Buyers no longer have the right to terminate the contract if the above statement is excluded, not word for word, or in the wrong place, and monetary penalties will apply for non-compliance.
The PAMDA Form 32a Lawyers Certificate for waiving or shortening the cooling-off period has been abolished. Instead, a buyer need only give the seller written notice without even consulting their solicitor.
The cooling-off period continues to be excluded from residential auction contracts, but now it is also excluded from contracts entered into within 2 business days of an auction at which the buyer was a registered bidder.
Auctioneers need to hold a new licence under POA 2014 to conduct property auctions. Trainee auctioneers will no longer be recognised.
Commission capping has been abolished. Agents are now completely free to negotiate their commission with this clients and are no longer required to disclose their commission to the buyer.
The maximum term of appointment for sole or exclusive agency has changed from 60 to 90 days, although appointments for 90 days may be terminated after 60 days.
Agents are no longer required to display a copy of their licence to the public in their office, although they will need to show their licence or registration if a client asks.
Agents can now charge a commission even if they have a beneficial interest in the sale. However, they must act fairly and honestly; make sure the seller knows of their beneficial interest; and get the seller to sign a form to confirm they understand and agree to the sale.
Agents are able to say a reserve price exists for an auction but the must not disclose the price itself or release a price guide.
Because we are not legal experts and none of the foregoing should be relied upon as legal advice, now more than ever it is critical that you seek professional legal advice early in your property purchasing process and definitely before you sign anything!