Victorians purchasing property now have more protection from unfair sales practices, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government’s historic new laws.
From today, vendors and agents cannot knowingly conceal any material facts about a property when selling land.
Material facts include whether a murder had occurred on the property, if the property had been used as a meth lab, or the existence of flammable cladding or asbestos.
The Material Fact Guidelines state that a vendor or their agent must disclose all known material facts, as soon as a prospective buyer indicates they are considering purchasing the property.
The vendor or agent must also answer all questions from prospective buyers about material facts as fully and frankly as possible.
Other amendments coming into effect today include:
- A ban on public auctions of land before 1pm on Anzac Day, with fines of more than $16,000 if not adhered to, bringing the industry into line with the standard restricted business hours of the day
- Greater protection for people who purchase options to buy land as part of a land banking scheme, including a requirement that money paid be held in trust pending the registration of a subdivision plan
- A ban on some rent-to-buy arrangements, as well as new offences relating to terms contracts, with potential jail time for those who disobey the laws
Further changes introduced by the Sale of Land Amendment Act 2019 mean that developers can only use a sunset clause with agreement from the buyer, or permission of the Supreme Court of Victoria.
The changes in legislation come after buyers raised concerns about developers deliberately delaying construction to cancel signed contracts, then re-selling the property at a higher price.
More information about the new Regulations and Material Fact Guidelines can be found at consumer.vic.gov.au/saleofland
Quotes attributable to Minister for Consumer Affairs Victoria Marlene Kairouz
“We take the protection of home buyers seriously, which is why we’ve introduced strict new laws to make sure Victorians aren’t being ripped off or lied to.”
“Vendors and agents who fail to comply with the law will face tough penalties, including imprisonment for the most serious offences.”
“The existence of these new laws will give Victorians the protection they need to confidently enter the property market.”