By -

Key developments

  • Building Stronger Foundations Discussion Paper
  • Off the plan contracts: Conveyancing (Sale of Land) Amendment Reg 2019
  • Draft Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019
  • Inquiry into the impact of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press
  • Migration Amendment (Repairing Medical Transfers) Bill 2019
  • Migration Amendment (Strengthening the Character Test) Bill 2019
  • Review of Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013
  • Centrelink Compliance Program

Building Stronger Foundations Discussion Paper

The Property Law, Environmental Planning and Development, Litigation Law and Practice and Business Law Committees contributed to a submission to the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation in response to the Discussion Paper.

The Law Society submitted that before creating a new statutory duty of care, as proposed in the Discussion Paper, thorough consideration should be given to enhancing the protections already available under the Home Building Act 1989 (‘HBA’), for example expanding the application of the HBA to buildings more than three storeys in height. We suggested that the current regime under the HBA provides better protection, at least for residential owners, than a statutory duty of care, where a plaintiff would be required to determine such matters as who should be liable, and damages would be subject to questions of apportionment.

In relation to the proposals to have building designers declare that plans comply with the Building Code of Australia, we suggested that in addition to the declarations included in the proposal, ‘as built’ plans should also be declared at the occupation certificate stage with a full set of ‘as built’ plans. In our view changes to plans should also be submitted to the regulator as changes made in the course of building may give rise to the greatest danger precisely because they have not necessarily been checked by the original professional draftsman and declared as compliant with any required standard.

The Law Society will participate in Working Groups to further develop the reforms.

Discussion paper – Off the plan contracts: Conveyancing (Sale of Land) Amendment Reg 2019

The Property Law Committee contributed to a submission to the Office of the Registrar General in response to the Discussion Paper and Draft Regulation.

We suggested the proposed commencement date of 1 September 2019 will not provide a sufficient lead time for industry and strongly preferred that the reforms commence no earlier than 1 November 2019.

We made a number of drafting suggestions in relation to the proposed disclosure statement for off the plan contacts. We also suggested that there needs to be clarification that it is sufficient for the prescribed documents for off the plan disclosure to be either attached to the disclosure statement or the contract.

We submitted that a vendor/developer should not be able to shorten the new 10 day cooling off period for off the plan contracts as this would undermine the utility of the reforms. The existing mechanism for the waiver of a cooling off period by the provision of a certificate should continue to apply for off the plan contracts. We also agreed that six months was an appropriate period in which the old form of cooling off notice may be used for contracts that are not off the plan.

You've reached the end of this article preview

There's more to read! Subscribe to LSJ today to access the rest of our updates, articles and multimedia content.

Subscribe to LSJ

Already an LSJ subscriber or Law Society member? Sign in to read the rest of the article.

Sign in to read more