Since the last update in 2005, the new contract, now called the Contract for Sale and Purchase of Land has been a long time coming.
The Contract for Sale and Purchase of Land (Contract) is generally re-issued about once every four years; legislation changes frequently, courts are regularly handing down decisions regarding conveyancing disputes, and technology impacts the way agents operate. All of these factors make it vital that the Contract be kept up to date.
Legal author and commentator, Tony Cahill, said that the nine-year wait for a new version is unusual.
“The main reasons that the Contract has not been updated earlier related to developing a more efficient and user-friendly way to deliver the Contract and the introduction of electronic conveyancing in New South Wales. E-conveyancing is already operating for mortgages, and should be extended to sales and transfers of ownership over the next few months. The Contract will deal in depth with the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the process.”
The big impacts
Mr Cahill noted that there are several changes to the new Contract that agents should look out for.
First, there will be a space on the front page of the Contract to mention the buyers’ agent.
Since the last edition of the Contract was issued, buyers’ agents have become more prominent in the industry. The buyers’ agent is also nominated as the deposit holder where there is neither a vendor’s agent nor a vendor’s solicitor or conveyancer.
“Second, the current list of pre-printed inclusions on the front page of the Contract now includes solar panels,” Mr Cahill said. “They have become much more popular in the last nine years and there are different arrangements for them; sometimes they are owned outright by the vendor of the property and sometimes they might be owned by the provider of energy.”
Third, there will be some changes to terminology used in the ‘list of documents’ on page two.
Two areas with the greatest impact on agents and the listing process relate to swimming pools and the operation of the Home Building Act.
“The swimming pools changes commence on 29 April 2015. The Home Building Act
changes have passed Parliament, but have not yet commenced. Both areas are complex and vendors should seek legal advice about their impact.”
There will also be a ‘pick-a-box’ choice dealing with using a deposit bond or guarantee instead of paying the deposit by cheque.
Mr Cahill recommends that when an agent receives a contract, the best starting point is to make sure all the documents that are supposed to be attached are, in fact, attached and that the contract is otherwise complete. If in doubt, seek the help of a legal expert.
If you have any questions regarding the new Contract for Sale and Purchase of Land, call the REINSW Helpline on (02) 9264 2343 or email email@example.com