Property Law Act 2023 – Watch this Space

1 July 2024

Kyleigh Barnes | Rees R & Sydney Jones

Kyleigh Barnes

Solicitor, Commercial

In a significant move last year, the Property Law Act 2023 (the Act) was approved by Queensland’s Parliament on 25 October 2023, receiving royal assent on 2 November 2023.

The Act will replace the nearly 50-year-old Property Law Act 1974 (Qld) (old PLA), which has not been comprehensively reformed since its introduction. The Act will commence upon the date for proclamation, which we expect to be announced soon.

A small snapshot of the key changes are:

  • The introduction of a seller disclosure scheme;
  • Rules relating to leases will be updated;
  • Subsequent owners enforcing covenants in easements; and
  • Various other changes and simplifications to rules relating to instalment contracts, adverse events under property contracts, and other matters.

Seller Disclosure Scheme

The Act will introduce a seller disclosure scheme in line with some other Australian jurisdictions. Sellers of all freehold land will be impacted by the introduction of this scheme (with some limited exceptions). Sellers will be required to provide buyers with a disclosure statement and any prescribed certificates relating to the land. The form of disclosure statement is yet to be finalised. Prescribed certificates will include any certificates applicable to the land, which may be any document that is required to be given to the buyer under another act.

Changes Impacting Leases

The Act makes an effort to simplify the rules relating to leases. One key change is the introduction of a statutory timeframe for the landlord to give a tenant notice of its decision regarding its consent (to the tenant’s request under with section 142) that is 1 month after receiving full specifics of the tenant’s request. Tenants will also be given an express right to apply to court for damages where a landlord fails to provide its decision regarding its consent, or if the tenant believes that the landlord has unreasonably withheld consent or a condition attached to the consent is unreasonable, unnecessary, or burdensome.

Easements

Under the old PLA, there has been difficulty in enforcing positive covenants upon subsequent owners which did not run with the land. This has been the subject of much case law. Section 65 of the Act addresses this issue. In circumstances where a covenant in a registered easement imposes an obligation (positive or negative), in relation to the use, ownership or maintenance of the burdened land for the benefit of the other land, unless those covenants are expressed to be personal to the original parties, the covenant will be binding on subsequent owners of the burdened land. This new provision cannot be contracted out of, except if the easement expressly stated that the covenant is personal to the grantor and grantee named in the easement.

Watch this space! As we await the commencement date, we encourage clients and stakeholders to seek advice as we prepare for the changes in Queensland’s property law landscape. If you require any advice, please contact our Commercial Law team.

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