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NSW real estate: Shrinking units force Govt to review off-the-plan laws


But real estate off rip-offs involving off-the-plan sales are continuing. Unscrupulous agents are also failing to refund deposits, making false and misleading claims about a property or not disclosing building levies. Latest figures show off-the-plan ...

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THE “shrinking” of units between purchase and move-in dates is among dodgy practices which have triggered a NSW government overhaul of conveyancing laws. NSW real estate: Shrinking units force Govt to review off-the-plan laws News Corp Australia03 Dec 2017 news Off-the-plan contracts account for more than one in 10 NSW residential property sales. THE “shrinking” of units between purchase and move-in dates is among dodgy practices which have triggered a NSW government overhaul of conveyancing laws

The review will also examine buyers losing their deposit on a home bought off the plan when a developer goes broke before it’s completed. Two years ago emergency legislation was introduced to stop developers from ­rescinding purchasers’ off-the-plan contracts and then relisting the same apartments at higher prices. But real estate off rip-offs involving off-the-plan sales are continuing. Unscrupulous agents are also failing to refund deposits, making false and misleading claims about a property or not disclosing building levies. Latest figures show off-the-plan purchases have soared in the past decade, from 2148 in 2007 to 29,022 this year. LATEST REAL ESTATE NEWS AND HEADLINES 11 UNITS FOR $33M SOLD IN SEVEN MINUTES 10 FAIR DINKUM AUSSIE PUBS FOR SALE NSW Finance Minister Victor Dominello said the dramatic increase in off-the-plan contracts meant it was time to re-examine the regulations, ­including the lack of notification required by developers of any changes made to a unit during development. The proposed new laws ­include forcing developers to provide detailed descriptions of what is being promised, and an informed estimate of the ­insurance, maintenance and sinking fund levies a buyer would be expected to pay. The government is also looking at contracts being able to be terminated or compensation offered if a developer’s modifications to the original off-the-plan model significantly disadvantage the buyer. The existing five-day cooling-off period could also be ­extended to 15 days to allow buyers sufficient time to read contracts, especially those signed without legal advice at weekend “launch” events. NSW may follow Queensland’s lead where deposits are placed in a trust account so they can be refunded if a developer goes bust. Other options to improve buyer protections include ­empowering NSW Civil and Administration Tribunal to make orders on off-the-plan complaints and allowing the NSW Supreme Court to make an award for damages

Mr Dominello, who will ­release a discussion paper for public comment today, said buyers needed to look beyond “glossy brochures” and “fancy display centres”. “One-bedroom apartments have become studios, and lot sizes have been reduced substantially so that more units can be squeezed onto the site,” Mr Dominello said.