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Inside track: Property & Real Estate

18 November 2020

#Property & Real Estate

Inside track: Property & Real Estate

In the media

Not dead, but different: How big office towers will look post-COVID-19 crisis
Offices traditionally used to comprise 80 per cent work stations and 20 per cent meeting and conference spaces, but the COVID-19 crisis has flipped those conventional metrics on their head, according to a new report (06 November 2020).  More...

RBA improves housing affordability if banks pass on cut
The RBA’s decision to cut the official interest rate to a historical low of 0.10 per cent will improve housing affordability provided banks pass on the cut, according to the REIA. If the full 0.15 percentage point decrease was passed on to mortgage rates, housing affordability would improve by 1.7 per cent (03 November 2020).  More...

Economic recovery will be 'unpredictable and uneven' RBA warns as it models 50 per cent property price fall
More Australians could go into "negative equity", where the value of their property falls below the outstanding balance on their mortgage, if the pandemic-led recession leads to a big fall in house prices, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) (27 October 2020).  More...

Jump in Australians returning to CBD offices
All CBD markets except Melbourne saw increases in office occupancy during October with Perth, Canberra and Brisbane recording the largest increases compared to the previous month, as well as an encouraging increase in Sydney (05 November 2020).  More...

September housing finance reflects improving housing sentiment
The September 2020 Lending to Households and Business figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the value of new loan commitments for housing grew for the fourth second consecutive month, according to the Real Estate Institute of Australia (02 November 2020).  More...

Dwelling approvals rise in September
The number of dwellings approved rose 15.4 per cent in September, in seasonally adjusted terms, according to data released by the ABS. The rise was driven by private sector dwellings excluding houses, which increased 23.4 per cent. Private sector houses rose for the third consecutive month, increasing by 9.7 per cent in September (02 November 2020).  More...

Bushfire Royal Commission – Planners say we must do more than fight fires
PIA takes heart from the Royal Commission’s recommendation (19.3) that all governments must “…consider future disaster risk when making land-use planning decisions for new developments”. PIA acknowledges similar recommendations from several State Inquiries (October 2020).  More...

NAB collaborates with industry to explore transition to low-carbon eco
The role of corporates and financial institutions will be instrumental in planning for and supporting economies and communities as Australia transitions from high emissions electricity generation to a low carbon world, according to a new report released (29 October 2020).  More...

Rents record first annual fall
The September 2020 quarter CPI figures show the impact that the COVID pandemic is having on the rental market, according to the Real Estate Institute of Australia (28 October 2020).  More...

Climate of the nation: Climate change concern hits 82 per cent
In the wake of the devastating Black Summer bushfires, an overwhelming majority of Australians (82 per cent) say they are concerned about climate change resulting in more bushfires, according to a new benchmark report released by the Australia Institute’s Climate & Energy Program (27 October 2020).  More...

Victoria

Surf park plans for Pellicano’s Melbourne waterpark
A new surf park could be on the horizon as part of $100 million water park plans lodged with City of Kingston in Melbourne’s south-east (06 November 2020).  More...

Victoria to build southern hemisphere’s biggest battery
One of the world’s largest lithium-ion batteries will be built in Victoria to boost reliability, drive down electricity prices and support the state’s transition to renewable energy (05 October 2020).  More...

Amazon doubles down with new Melbourne fulfilment centre
Amazon has announced plans for a new 37,000sq m fulfilment centre, committing to a Dexus-managed industrial estate in the western suburbs of Melbourne (30 October 2020).  More...

The COVID-normal city: Will we ever return to our CBD offices?
Not so long ago working from home was a novelty. It felt like wagging school. Now it has the potential to reshape Melbourne, our homes, and our working lives forever (28 October 2020).  More...

Push for a Parliamentary investigation into Victoria’s ‘lost’ heritage homes and building
A state MP wants an inquiry to look at the “lost” heritage homes and buildings of Melbourne. Sustainable Australia Party MLC Clifford Hayes is pushing for a Parliamentary investigation amid concern that Victorian heritage laws are too weak (28 October 2020).  More...

Salvation Army to deliver a community hub in Central Dandenong
The Salvation Army’s $13.5 million community hub development in central Dandenong has been given the green light by the State Government (28 October 2020).  More...

Ensuring Victoria's e-waste doesn't end up in landfill
The Victorian Government will invest $1.7 million to improve the recovery and collection of e-waste across the state. Round two of our e-waste infrastructure grants is ensuring valuable resources from these discarded electronic goods don’t go to waste (27 October 2020).  More...

NSW

New mandatory standards for building certification
The NSW Government has released a comprehensive practice standard that outlines how building certifiers must undertake their role to ensure compliance with the law (02 November 2020).  More...

REINSW: Should owners corporations recover levies during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it much financial and economic turmoil. Despite efforts such as the JobKeeper scheme, there is a lot of uncertainty in this economic climate. Regardless, it is important that an owners corporation continue to recover outstanding levies (02 November 2020).   More...

Queensland

Stockland kicks off $126m Sunshine Coast project
Residential developer Stockland has kickstarted construction on a $126 million greenfield project on the Sunshine Coast as south-east Queensland land supply starts to dry up (06 November 2020).  More...

From the CEO: Queensland’s property market remains steadfast post-election
Corelogic’s latest Hedonic Home Value Index data for September 2020, Brisbane’s property market saw another moderate monthly price rise of 0.5 per cent, bringing the capital city’s annual median to 3.5 per cent. Regionally, property markets have continued to maintain moderately healthier annual growth, the latest annual median 4.6 per cent for September 2020 (04 November 2020).  More...

What does the RBA cash rate cut mean for the Queensland property market?
Supporting Queensland’s progressive property market, the new package announcement will make it easier for individuals to access home finance. The RBA announcement complements the initiatives from the Federal Budget. Particularly benefitting homeowners and buyers who were previously relying on pandemic financial support (04 November 2020).  More...

Brisbane real estate gets a spring in its step as asking prices on the increase
The annual Spring surge in real estate was delayed, not cancelled, according to a report from SQM Research (03 November 2020).  More...

PCA: Queensland election result
Along with tax reform, the Property Council will seek to engage with the Government on critical policy issues including growing the Build-to-Rent housing sector, investing in catalyst infrastructure, revitalising CBDs, investing in social and affordable housing, and enhancing business efficiency through the removal of red and green tape (01 November 2020).  More...

In practice and courts

Victoria

Victorian eviction moratorium extended until 28 March 2021
Residential tenants and landlords who struggle to reach agreement over rent reductions have access to the dispute resolution service run by Consumer Affairs Victoria for residential tenancies. The Victorian Small Business Commission offers a similar service for commercial tenancies. Residential and commercial tenants and landlords can also take advantage of more support, including further land tax reductions and more grant funding.  More...

NSW

NSW Revenue: Stamp duty changes for first home buyers
The threshold above which transfer (stamp) duty is charged on new homes for first home buyers will increase from the current $650,000 to $800,000, with the concession reducing on higher values before phasing out at $1 million. The new transfer (stamp) duty threshold will be in place for 12 months and will apply to contracts executed from 1 August 2020 to 31 July 2021.  More...

NSW Fair Trading: Deadline for trust account audits extended to 31 December 2020
This is an important reminder that each year, real estate agents are required to audit their trust accounts. As of July last year, all audit results must now be lodged with NSW Fair Trading. Audits for the year ending 30 June 2020 need to be lodged with Fair Trading by 31 December 2020. This is an extension of the normal deadline of 30 September.  More...

Queensland

Announcements, Draft Policies and Plans released 2020

PCA: Further easing of restrictions & extension to the COVID-19 applicable event period
The State Government plan eases COVID-19 restrictions during October, November and December as well as extending the COVID-19 applicable event period under the planning framework. The decision extends the application of current declared uses and approved temporary use licences until 31 January 2021 and allows businesses to apply for temporary use licenses to be issued until 31 January 2021. For more information on the extension notice, please click here. For more information on Queensland's Roadmap to easing restrictions, please click here.

Support for the Gold Coast’s building and construction sectors
The City of the Gold Coast has announced a range of incentives to support the property industry. The measures are intended to stimulate and accelerate building and construction work, especially for smaller scale projects. The measures are outlined here. The measures will be available from 1 October 2020, with the exception of the Express Development Application process which will be available from the 27 October 2020. Click here to find out more about the Council’s stimulus measures and Express DA service.

DES Prosecution bulletins
A selection of the department’s enforcement actions are summarised in prosecution bulletins outlining the facts and outcomes of finalised prosecutions.  More...

Modernised body corporate regulations to start in March 2021
The Queensland Government has finalised a modernised set of corporate regulations to take effect from 1 March 2021.  More...

Community titles changes for COVID-19 period
More measures have been introduced to support the community titles sector in Queensland.  More...

Commercial leasing guideline extended
An extension to the mandatory leasing provisions introduced to give effect to the National Commercial Code of Conduct, has now been enacted through the Retail Shop Leases and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Amendment Regulation 2020. The amendments introduce an ‘extension period’ and separate the requirements between the response period (29 March 2020 to 30 September 2020) and the extension period (1 October 2020 to 31 December 2020). 
Note: You can access the Amendment Regulation here. The Queensland Small Business Commissioner will continue to assist with resolution and mediation of COVID-19 affected small businesses leases.

OSR Online replaces OSRconnect
OSR Online is the new home for lodging and paying transfer duty. It replaces OSRconnect for duties lodgements in Queensland. Every individual must set up an account and change to OSR Online before 30 November. More information about OSR online is here.
Set up an account to start using OSR Online. Existing OSRconnect users can convert their current user access to OSR Online.

PCA: Land tax relief extended
As part of its ‘mini-budget’ the Queensland Government has announced a 25 per cent land tax rebate is available for eligible properties for the 2020-21 assessment year. The due dates for applications for the land tax rebate are: 2019-20, applications close on 31 October 2020 and 2020-21, applications close on 26 February 2021.
The rebate is only available if you owned an eligible property at midnight on 30 June 2019 and/or 30 June 2020, and were liable for land tax in relation to the property (2020).  More...

Build-to-Rent update
The Queensland Government has announced the preferred proponents of its Build-to-Rent Pilot Project that was announced as part of the 2018 Mid Year Fiscal and Economic Review. Frasers Property and Mirvac are the successful proponents who are required to deliver a component of government subsidised affordable housing dwellings (October 2020).  More...

Safer Buildings program enters final stage
The QBCC is administering the three-part Safer Buildings program to understand the extent of combustible cladding use in Queensland’s private buildings. The Safer Buildings program has advanced considerably with Part 3 of the combustible cladding checklist now underway. The deadline for building owners to finalise the Part 3 assessment is 3 May 2021.  More...

Moreton Bay Regional Economic Development Strategy
Moreton Bay Regional Council has developed a Regional Economic Development Strategy that is now open for community consultation. The strategy provides a 20-year economic vision for Moreton Bay, and a blueprint for sustainable economic growth into the future. Review and consolidate strategy now due late 2020.  More...

Reminder: Planning legislation amendment
The additional time provided through the extension notice applies to development approvals in effect on 8 July 2020 or which come into effect between 8 July 2020 and 31 October 2020. For example, a development approval that would have ordinarily lapsed on 1 August 2020 now won’t lapse until 1 February 2021.  More...

Queensland planning legislation
Urgent amendments to the Planning legislation are in effect to address concerns raised by a range of stakeholders, including local government and industry, in response to the COVID-19. The Minister for Planning has extended the COVID-19 emergency applicable event to 31 October 2020.  More...

Consultations

Beerburrum to Nambour rail upgrade - park 'n' ride
Have your say on the Beerburrum to Nambour Rail Upgrade park 'n' ride facilities. Closes 20 November 2020.  More...

Published – articles, papers, reports

REIA News – 30 October 2020
In this issue: Budget 2020 and what it means for the property market; Mortgage repayments have resumed; National Cabinet commits to reopening by Christmas, without WA.  More...

Demand-side assistance in Australia’s rental housing market: Exploring reform options
Rachel Ong, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute: 29 October 2020.
This research examines possible cost-effective reforms of Commonwealth Rent Assistance that could improve housing outcomes for low-income renters.  More...

Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements: Report
Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements: 30 October 2020.
This report focuses on broader questions of national arrangements and responsibilities, in relation to all phases of natural disasters – before, during and after. This inquiry required the Commission to consider whether these existing arrangements are as effective as they can be in a future.  More...

Cases

Maddren v Gateway Lifestyle [2020] QCAT 411
PROCEDURE – CIVIL PROCEEDINGS IN STATE AND TERRITORY COURTS – ENDING PROCEEDINGS EARLY – SUMMARY DISPOSAL – whether applicant was party to earlier proceedings – whether application is misconceived or otherwise an abuse of process
Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 Qld s 47
Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Act 2003 Qld Part 15.

Combined Property Holdings Pty Ltd v Galea & Ors [2020] QSC 338
PROCEDURE – CIVIL PROCEEDINGS IN STATE AND TERRITORY COURTS – SECURITY FOR COSTS – FACTORS RELEVANT TO EXERCISE OF DISCRETION – PLAINTIFF'S OR APPLICANT'S IMPECUNIOSITY – CAUSE OF PLAINTIFF'S OR APPLICANT'S IMPECUNIOSITY – where the impecunious corporate plaintiff claims the defendants caused it loss via their negligence or breach of retainer – where the defendants apply for security for their costs – where the plaintiff claims that the defendants’ wrongs were the cause of its impecuniosity – where the plaintiff entered into a number of convoluted transactions concerning the development of property – where there is a lack of evidence as to the real financial position of the plaintiff – whether and to what extent the defendants should be granted security for their costs.
LIMITATION OF ACTIONS – GENERAL MATTERS – AMENDMENT OF ORIGINATING PROCESSES AND PLEADINGS OUTSIDE LIMITATION PERIOD – AMENDMENTS INTRODUCING NEW CAUSE OF ACTION OR PARTICULARISING CAUSE OF ACTION – where the plaintiff claims the defendants are liable for breach of contract and negligence – where the plaintiff seeks to claim the defendants are additionally liable for breach of contract and negligence because they had knowledge of a risk and a duty to warn of a risk but did not do so – where the plaintiff seeks to amend its originating process to claim the defendants breached their fiduciary duties – whether the amendments in relation to a failure to warn of a risk of economic loss merely involve the particularisation of an existing cause of action or introduce a new cause of action – whether leave should be granted to allow the pleading of the failure to warn of a risk of economic loss and the breach of fiduciary duty causes of action. Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 Qld r 376, r 377, r 670, r 671, r 672.

The Proprietors Cathedral Village BUP 106957 v Cathedral Place Community Body Corporate [2020] QCA 240
REAL PROPERTY – STRATA AND RELATED TITLES – MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL – BODY CORPORATE: POWERS, DUTIES AND LIABILITIES – where the applicant is the community body corporate under a mixed-use scheme under the Mixed Use Development Act 1993 (Qld) (“the Act”) – where the respondent represents the retail and commercial building within the scheme – where for many years, the respondent has complained that the applicant has levied some contributions on all of the applicant’s members which have been applied only in the interests of the residential owners – where the applicant commenced proceedings against the respondent for unpaid levies – where the respondent claimed that, upon a proper accounting of what should have been levied against them, they had overpaid the applicant and that it should pay them – where the trial judge concluded that s 174(4)(c) of the Act had the effect that it was not open to the respondent to dispute, in the applicant’s action to recover the amount of this levy as a debt, whether the contribution levied against the respondent had been correctly determined – whether the trial judge erred in so holding.
Mixed Use Development Act 1993 Qld s 174(4)(c), s 177(1)(h).

Cathedral Place Community Body Corporate v The Proprietors Cathedral Village BUP 106957 [2020] QCA 239
REAL PROPERTY – STRATA AND RELATED TITLES – MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL – BODY CORPORATE: POWERS, DUTIES AND LIABILITIES – where the applicant is the community body corporate under a mixed-use scheme under the Mixed Use Development Act 1993 (Qld) (“the Act”) – where the respondent represents the retail and commercial building within the scheme – where for many years, the respondent has complained that the applicant has levied some contributions on all of the applicant’s members which have been applied only in the interests of the residential owners – where the applicant commenced proceedings against the respondent for unpaid levies – where the respondent claimed that, upon a proper accounting of what should have been levied against them, they had overpaid the applicant and that it should pay them – whether, on a proper construction of the Act, the applicant could require the respondent to subsidise the provision of services and other benefits to the other bodies corporate.
EQUITY – EQUITABLE REMEDIES – INJUNCTIONS – PROCEDURE – APPEAL – where the trial judge made a declaration and injunctions to give effect to his conclusion on the subsidisation question – whether the trial judge erred in making the declaration and injunctions.
Mixed Use Development Act 1993 Qld s 174, s 176, s 177.

Metroll Roofing Pty Ltd v Tempest [2020] QDC 273
GUARANTEE AND INDEMNITY – ASSIGNMENT – where the plaintiff was assigned a judgment debt from Metroll Queensland Pty Ltd who obtained default judgment against the defendant’s company MCT Roofing (Qld) Pty Ltd – where the defendant entered into a credit application on behalf of his company with Metroll Queensland Pty Ltd in 2006 - where the defendant entered into a credit application on behalf of his company with the plaintiff in 2013 – where the defendant provided a personal guarantee and indemnity in the 2013 credit application but not in the 2006 credit application - whether the guarantee given by the defendant in 2013 in favour of the plaintiff answers a judgment debt assigned to it by Metroll Queensland Pty Ltd.
REAL PROPERTY – TORRENS TITLE – CAVEATS AGAINST DEALINGS – REMOVAL – PARTICULAR CASES – where the plaintiff lodged a caveat over the defendant’s interest in the defendant’s land – where the defendant seeks an order that the caveat be removed – where the plaintiff’s claim has been dismissed – whether there is no basis for the caveat upon dismissal of the plaintiff’s claim.
Corporations Act 2001 Cth s 500; Land Title Act 1994 Qld s 127.

Squash Vision Pty Ltd v Il Mito Pty Ltd & Ors [2020] QSC 328
LANDLORD AND TENANT – RENT – PROVISIONS AS TO RENT IN AGREEMENT FOR LEASE OR LEASE – DETERMINATION OF RENTAL – where a lease over retail premises prescribed the annual rent for the first three years and provided that the rent for the fourth and subsequent years would be 105 per cent of the rent for the previous year – where another clause of the lease prescribed lower amounts of rent for the first three years if the tenant strictly performed and observed the covenants of the lease – whether the rent for the fourth lease year is derived by multiplying the higher or lower amount by 105 per cent.
CONTRACTS – GENERAL CONTRACTUAL PRINCIPLES – CONSTRUCTION AND INTERPRETATION OF CONTRACTS – PENALTIES AND LIQUIDATED DAMAGES – GENERAL PRINCIPLES – where a lease prescribed lower rent if the tenant strictly performed and observed the covenants of the lease – where, if the tenant failed to strictly perform and observe the covenants of the lease, rent would become payable at the higher rate including any shortfall – whether that provision of the lease amounted to an unenforceable penalty.
LANDLORD AND TENANT – LEASES AND TENANCY AGREEMENTS – CONSTRUCTION AND INTERPRETATION – PRIOR NEGOTIATIONS – where a lease provided for the tenant to pay a proportion of the outgoings relating to the premises – where the outgoings charged to the applicant were calculated with reference to the respondent’s outgoings relating to Lots 1 and 2 on the land – whether, under the terms of the lease, the outgoings should have been calculated with reference to the outgoings relating to Lot 2 only.

Cases to 02 November 2020

Department of Justice and Attorney-General – Office of Fair Trading v Noosa Resort Management Pty Ltd and Ors (No 2) [2020] QCAT 403
PROFESSIONS AND TRADES – AUCTIONEERS AND AGENTS – DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS – where disciplinary ground established that real estate agent contravened legislative requirements – where disciplinary ground established that real estate agent failed to ensure employee properly supervised – whether agent should be reprimanded or fined. Property Occupations Act 2014 Qld s 186.

11 Ludlow Pty Ltd v Brisbane City Council [2020] QPEC 55
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – APPEAL – application for an order that proposed changes to the development application are a minor change. Planning Act 2016 Qld; Planning and Environment Court Act 2016 Qld. 

Pimpama Commercial Pty Ltd v Council of the City of Gold Coast (No.3) [2020] QPEC 56
The appeal is allowed - The controversial condition3is as follows :“From 12.00am (midnight) to 2.00am, the number of patrons shall be limited to no more than 50.”[5]Pursuant to s 65(1) of the Planning Act 2016.

Legislation

Commonwealth

Foreign Investment Reform (Protecting Australia’s National Security) Bill 2020
House of Representatives 28 October 2020 - The Bill establishes a new Register of foreign owned assets to record all foreign interests acquired in Australian land; water entitlements and contractual water rights; and business acquisitions that require foreign investment approval; and provides that fees are payable for the new types of actions established under the reforms.

Disclaimer
The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this newsletter is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.

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