Sale of land changes in effect from 1 March - Legislation update

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1 March 2020
Legislation updates

The Sale of Land Amendment Act 2019 (the Act) is in effect from 1 March 2020.

Vendors and agents cannot knowingly conceal from a prospective buyer 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 (Word, 46KB) state that a vendor or their agent must disclose all known material facts, as soon as a prospective buyer indicates they are considering buying 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 in effect from 1 March include:

  • a ban of public auctions of land before 1pm on Anzac Day, with fines of up to $80,000 if not adhered to. This brings 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.

For more information about changes affecting land banking schemes, view High risk property investments.

For more information about changes affecting rent-to-buy and terms contracts, view High risk property investments and New Sale of Land (Exemption) Regulations 2020.

Further changes introduced by the Act mean that developers can only use a sunset clause with agreement from the buyer, or permission of the Supreme Court of Victoria.

This change was introduced in 2019 and applied retrospectively from 23 August 2018. It came after buyers raised concerns about developers deliberately delaying construction to cancel signed contracts, then re-selling the property at a higher price.