State acts to protect flat developers - Australia

Tuesday 23 March 2004

The State Government moved swiftly yesterday to close a legal loophole that could have enabled apartment investors to back out of off-the-plan contracts and threatened more than $14 billion worth of new construction in Victoria.

By The Landlord

The legislation will be introduced when State Parliament resumes on March 30 and will broaden the Sale of Land Act to cover all off-the-plan contracts, including deposit requirements and cooling-off periods for apartment sales.

Acting Premier John Thwaites said the legislative changes would be implemented as soon as possible to avoid a rash of litigation against developers.

"We shouldn't have a situation where people are using loopholes, or whatever, to avoid contracts," Mr Thwaites said.

"We want to see clear, certain legislation that implements the law as it's always been understood."

The Government's decision follows an appeal case in the Supreme Court of Victoria last week, where a disgruntled investor challenged the validity of an off-the-plan contract in Mirvac's Yarra Edge development.

The investor, Peter Evan Philip, paid a deposit of 10 per cent on an apartment in the third tower of Yarra's Edge, which was in breach of Victoria's domestic building legislation according to his lawyers, Jerrard & Stuk.

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