Overhaul of property laws in Queensland

By Matt Dolan

Following extensive public review of a draft in 2022, the Property Law Bill 2023 (Bill) has now been introduced to Queensland Parliament. Aimed at modernising property law in Queensland, the new legislation will replace the existing Property Law Act (Act) which has remained largely unchanged since its introduction in 1974.

Why has the Bill been introduced?

The QUT Commercial and Property Law Research Centre undertook a review of the Act in 2013 proposing over 200 recommendations to the Government. The intention of the Bill is largely to implement those recommendations.

When introducing the Bill, Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said “this is legislation that will most likely affect everyone at some stage of their lives when they own or deal with property. The Queensland Government is taking action to ensure our state’s property laws are modern and fit for purpose”.

Seller disclosure: a new regime

One of the most significant changes is the implementation of a seller disclosure regime in Queensland. This represents a significant change to conveyancing in that state. The primary aim of the seller disclosure regime is to benefit parties to a conveyance by clearly identifying disclosure obligations, simplifying the complex mix of existing common law, statutory and contractual disclosure obligations, and creating a regime for disclosure of information that promotes consistency and clarity.

Draft regulations have been released with the Bill outlining the requirements for a prescribed disclosure statement which includes a title search, a copy of the registered plan of survey and, if the lot is included in a community titles scheme, a copy of the community management statement recorded for the scheme. See our earlier article for more details on the prescribed seller disclosure statement.

Assignment of lease

The Bill also proposes to simplify existing rules in relation to leases. One of the most significant changes for both landlords and tenants is in relation to the release of tenants and guarantors on an assignment of lease.

If passed, the new laws will mean a tenant and any guarantor of the tenant’s obligations under the lease will be released from liability under the lease following assignment, and from the date of assignment the tenant and any guarantors are not liable for any breach by the assignee. The parties to an assignment of lease will not be able to exclude these provisions—in other words, the terms of any consent to assignment by a landlord cannot impose a requirement for the tenant and any guarantor to remain liable for breaches that occur post-assignment of the lease. It will be critical for landlords to ensure (as part of the consent to assignment process) they are satisfied with the financial standing and strength of any new tenant and new guarantors and the security (bonds and/or bank guarantees) provided under the lease to secure the performance of the tenant.

Next steps

The Bill was referred to the Legal Affairs and Safety Committee on 23 February for consideration with a short period for public consultation ending 10 March 2023. We will provide further updates once the Bill progresses to the next stage.

Reach out to our team for more information.


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