Legislation and industry changes for the property industry brought to you by the Australian College of Professionals

Over the last 12 to 18 months, there have been many legislative and industry changes for the property industry. There have been overhauls and minor amendments, clarification and confusion.

The following is a summary of legislative updates and planned updates that have been announced in the past 18 months:

Focus Legislation Date
Capital Gains withholding Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2015 Measures No. 6) Act 2016 (No. 10, 2016) – Schedule 2 1 July 2016 with amendments implemented on 1 July 2017
Key Changes: The Australian Government announced that as of the beginning of the financial year, a purchaser would have an obligation to withhold Capital Gains Tax on behalf of the vendor.

Under these laws the purchaser is obliged to comply with a foreign resident capital gains withholding payment obligation under either of the two following circumstances:

  1. Where the vendor is a foreign resident; and/or
  2. Where the market value of the property is $750, 000 or more, (even if the vendor is not a foreign resident)

Unless the vendor supplies a clearance certificate from the Australian Taxation Office, the purchaser is required to withhold 12.5% of the sale price (a non-final capital gains tax contribution) at settlement.

The ATO also note that should the 12.5% that is withheld be more than the required Capital Gains tax liability; the vendor may be able to claim a discount on their tax return when the capital gains liability is assessed.

Focus Legislation Date
Contract for the sale and purchase of land Conveyancing (Sale of Land) Regulations 2017 1 September 2017
Key Changes:  The new contract has requirements for further disclosures in a strata building as well as for properties on the loose-fill asbestos register.

Solicitors and conveyancers will be required to include the following:

  • All bylaws if the property being sold is strata, including the registered model bylaws
  • All sewerage diagrams from Sydney water if more than one is available
  • If the property is strata and is under a renewal or collective sale process, disclosures are required
Focus Legislation Date
Stamp Duty Exemptions, First Home Buyers Duties Act 1997 (NSW) 1 July 2017
Key Changes:  An exemption from stamp duty for any property, not just brand new properties, as it was pre July 2017, is now up to $650,000 for a property and up to $350, 000 for vacant land.

There will also be a reduction in stamp duty for first home buyers buying between $650,000 and $800,000.

The exemption up to $650,000 will essentially mean an initial saving for those first home buyers of up to $24,740.

Focus Legislation Date
Real Estate Training Reforms Property, Stock and Business a/gents Amendment (Property Industry reform) Bill 2017 No date as yet but looking like mid to late 2018
Key Changes:  The reforms we have discussed last year and will continue to discuss this year.

These reforms are looking to improve the industry and the knowledge base of the participants in the industry. There are a number of items within the reform which have raised concern such as the removal of the business agents licence.

This Bill passed through the Legislative Council on 7 March 2018. Read more about the NSW Real Estate Industry Reforms.

Focus Legislation Date
Retail Leasing Retail Leases Amendment (Review) Act 2017 1 July 2017
Key Changes: An amendment / review to the 1994 Retail Leases Act was very much needed. The review Act includes but is not limited by the following changes:

  • Changes to the disclosure of outgoings and expenses in the Lessor’s Disclosure statement
  • Compensation for reasonable costs to be paid to the lessee where the lessee terminates for the lessor’s failure to comply with its obligation to provide the Lessor’s Disclosure Statement at least 7 days prior to entering into the lease
  • Mortgagee consent expenses to be paid by the lessor
Foreign Owners – Unoccupied Residential Property
Key Changes: Foreign owners of residential properties left unoccupied or unavailable to rent for six months in any one year or more will pay an annual charge equivalent to the Foreign Investment Application Fee paid by the foreign investor when they purchased the property. The minimum fee payable is $5, 500 per year.


EAC and the Australian College of Professionals (ACOP) have partnered to provide the real estate industry with the highest quality training for new and experienced agents.

EAC members are entitled to discounts on training through ACOP. This training includes Certificate of Registration courses, CPD training, skills training and licensing programs.

For CPD training (flat rate for face-to-face sessions of $150) use the discount code EACCPD – OR – for all other training use the discount code EACTRAIN on www.acop.edu.au.

To obtain training through ACOP call 1300 884 810.

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