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Inside track: Property & Real Estate

04 November 2020

#Property, Planning & Development

Inside track: Property & Real Estate

In the media


Non-bank lenders tighten the reins for office, retail and high-density living
Traditional banks may have eased some lending requirements, but the hurdles remain high, causing developers to seek cash from other non-bank sources (24 October 2020).  More...

China cracks down on developer debt
Chinese regulators are seeking more transparency from property developers, calling for more details about current debts, in order to rein in borrowing costs and quell broader financial impacts (22 October 2020).  More...

‘One-size-fits-all’ housing stimulus too small
The “one-size-fits-all” housing industry stimulus is helpful, but more needs to be done to have major impact on the economic recovery, new research shows (21 October 2020).  More...

ALE takes rent dispute to court
Australia’s biggest pub landlord, ALE Property Group, has gone to court to dispute rent reviews for a group of Victorian properties after the assessments left rent substantially unchanged (19 October 2020).  More...

Build slower cities or keep careering towards disaster
The 20th century was focused largely on burning the past to expand the present, but we were really burning our future. We can change - and developing walking cities would be a good start (16 October 2020).  More...

Forty per cent of renters can’t afford essentials as a result of COVID-19: Report
New research surveyed 15,000 public and private renting households across all Australian states and territories during July and August 2020 (16 October 2020).  More...

Mortgage repayment resumption promising sign for property market
The Real Estate Institute of Australia has welcomed the announcement by the Australian Banking Association that repayments have resumed on almost half of deferred loans for mortgages and small businesses.
is a promising sign for agents, and players in the property market and the economy as a whole (15 October 2020).  More...

Stimulus supports property industry confidence lift
Property industry confidence is gradually picking up, albeit very cautiously, according to the ANZ/Property Council Survey for the December 2020 quarter. Stimulus measures such as the HomeBuilder grant as well as support from state and territory governments for new and first home buyers are driving up sentiment for the residential construction sector (15 October 2020).  More...

Net zero energy demand homes offer cost savings for buyers
On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency has announced $708,910 in funding to Frasers Property Australia to build new energy efficient homes to demonstrate the feasibility of achieving zero energy demand homes at scale (15 October 2020).  More...

New home sales remain elevated
The full impact of HomeBuilder is now evident in the HIA’s New Home Sales Report with sales now 11.8 per cent higher in the seven months since restrictions came into effectthan at the same time last year,” commented HIA Chief Economist (14 October 2020).  More...


Covid dining plans emerge for Melbourne summer
Bars, wineries, restaurants and cafes will no longer need permit approval to use public land to accommodate patrons as Melbourne’s hospitality industry gets ready to re-open (21 October 2020).  More...

Planning exemptions smooth the way for outdoor dining
The Victorian Government is ensuring Melbourne’s hospitality sector can make a smooth transition to outdoor dining by streamlining planning approvals (21 October 2020).  More...

New estate agent education requirements
The Victorian Government has increased the training requirements for new estate agents, and agents’ representatives, to ensure the industry continues to deliver high quality services (21 October 2020).  More...

Build to rent vital to prevent apartment price bubble
Growing the Build to Rent sector could play a critical role in rescuing Victoria’s falling apartment market.
The Property Council of Australia is urging the Victorian Government to bring forward initiatives to support Build to Rent as part of a recovery package for Victoria’s property sector (19 October 2020).  More...

Tenants cut generous deals as pandemic bites leasing
The leasing pendulum is swinging firmly in favour of tenants as landlords cut generous deals to fill pandemic-hit properties in Melbourne’s suburban shopping strips (17 October 2020).  More...


Environmental conservation the focus of $70 million housing approval in Appin
Crucial koala habitat in Sydney’s south west has been preserved as part of a rezoning approval for a $70 million housing estate in Appin. Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said approximately two-thirds of the site, equating to 39 hectares, had been set aside for environmental conservation (13 October 2020).  More...

In practice and courts

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. For more information see our Renting rules and support during the moratorium page.

New Environment Protection Act postponed to July 2021
The legislation has been postponed and is intended to commence on 1 July 2021. On that basis, EPA will continue to regulate under the Environment Protection Act 1970, including all existing subordinate legislation (Regulations and statutory policies including state environment protection policies and waste management policies) until the new commencement date.  More...

Announcements, Draft Policies and Plans released 2020


Registrar general: Updates to Conveyancing Rules during the COVID-19 pandemic
The option to sign dealings and plans electronically has now been extended to March 2021, to assist customers during the pandemic (07 October 2020).  More...

NSW revenue: HomeBuilder program
HomeBuilder will provide eligible owner-occupiers (including first home buyers) with a grant of $25,000 to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home where the contract is signed between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020. Construction must commence within three months of the contract date.  More...


Landowner says 'people's life savings will be wiped away' if saleyards expand
A plan to expand Emerald's saleyards has residents worrying about property prices, dust and odour (21 October 2020).  More...

Sunland Group flags site sales, company scale back
Queensland-based developer Sunland has announced plans it could wind down its business operations over the next three or more years, as it sells off assets to pay off debts and improve value to its shareholders (21 October 2020).  More...

REIQ: What the budget means for Queensland property
On Tuesday, 6th October, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivered the highly anticipated mid-pandemic federal budget for the 2020-2021 financial year. To be expected, some aspects were praised, while others were criticised. Here’s how it stands to affect the property market in Queensland (21 October 2020).  More...

Council looks to sell off properties two years after buying them
The two lots, resumed in 2018 for a road upgrade in Upper Mount Gravatt, were surplus to requirements once the project was complete (19 October 2020).  More...

Labor and LNP commit to spend millions on road already funded by developer
The State Government commits $35 million to help pay for a major road, despite it already being funded by a property developer as part of a multi-billion-dollar private project (16 October 2020).  More...

KTQ plans $380m Kirra Beach hotel towers
The old Kirra Beach Hotel will make way for two apartment towers and a boutique hotel as part of $380 million redevelopment plans for the site at the southern end of the Gold Coast (16 October 2020).  More...

Dexus appoints new leader to Queensland operations
Dexus is planning a $2.1 billion riverfront redevelopment along Eagle Street, currently under assessment by Brisbane City Council (16 October 2020).  More...

Revitalising the CBD is crucial to economic recovery
The latest results from the ANZ/Property Council Survey show that while confidence has begun to return to Queensland’s economy, a lack of activity in city centres is of increasing concern for the property industry (15 October 2020).  More...

Funds dry up for flood levee protecting 1,500 properties that's been on the table for years
Thought to have its funding secured in 2018, the South Rockhampton Flood Levee — designed to protect 1,500 properties — could be stalled by redirecting its funds (14 October 2020).  More...

High-rise neighbours blast decision on $2 billion riverside development
A report commissioned by neighbours of a Dexus development on the Brisbane riverfront argues the development needs to be reassessed by the council (13 October 2020).  More...

In practice and courts


ATO Notification
21/10/2020 Report a breach of the foreign investment real estate rules
Use our online tip-off form or phone us to confidentially report suspected breaches of Australia's foreign investment rules for residential real estate. If you self-disclose a breach, you may receive a lower penalty.

Current Inquiries and Consultations
Protecting Critical Infrastructure and Systems of National Significance
Review of the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 (Cth)

Announcements, Draft Policies and Plans released 2020

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...

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.

REIQ Journal – 21 October
Commercial Agents’ Obligations Revisited.  More...

Land Title Practice Manual updates: 16 October 2020
The Land Title Practice Manual (Qld) has been updated, effective from 16 October 2020. 

Statutory Charges under the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017
Part 14 of the Land Title Practice Manual (the manual) has been updated to reflect amendments to the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017 (the BIF Act) that commenced on 1 October 2020

Other amendments
Important changes have been made to a number of other parts. The Land Title Practice Manual web page contains a link to a tracked changes version which outlines the changes to the relevant parts. Details of the changes are available from the Land Title Practice Manual Page.

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. For more information visit

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. To view the draft strategy please click here.

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...

Business Queensland reminder: Negotiating commercial rent relief during COVID-19
The Retail Shop Leases and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020 (the Regulation) came into effect on 28 May 2020. The Regulation implements the National Cabinet mandatory code of conduct - SME commercial leasing principles during COVID-19 (the Code) in Queensland.
The regulation has effect from 29 March to 30 September 2020 (the COVID-19 emergency response period). During this period, if a tenant with an affected lease fails to pay rent or outgoings, or is unable to open, the landlord cannot start court or tribunal proceedings (known as a prescribed action).


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...

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.

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...

Published – articles, papers, reports

Renting in the time of COVID-19: Understanding the impacts
Emma Baker et al; AHURI: 15 October 2020
This research surveyed and analysed the circumstances for Australian renters during the initial phase of the COVID-19 lockdowns in July and August 2020 to identify challenges for the rental sector and to give insights into how the rental market is performing, the uptake of existing support measures and the demand for future assistance.  More...


LPG Laverton Property No 5 Pty Ltd v Australian Vinyls Corporation Pty Ltd & Anor [2020] VSC 689
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – clean up notices – whether jurisdiction of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal ousted by requirements in clean up notice – ouster of planning and building controls – Meaning of ‘specified in the notice’ – construction of ss 62A(1) and (1B) of Environment Protection Act 1970 (Vic) – construction of clean up notice – Environment Protection Act 1970 (Vic) ss 1A, 1B, 1D, 1K, 4, 53V, 53X, 62A – Environment Protection (General Amendment) Act 1989 (Vic) ss 4(c), 59 – Wyndham Planning Scheme cls 33.02–4, 33.03–4.

Senior v Berlyn (Building and Property) [2020] VCAT 1183
CO-OWNERSHIP-PROPERTY LAW ACT 1958 – property registered in names of the parties as tenants in common in equal undivided shares – property comprises retail premises, managed solely by the respondent over lengthy period of time – net proceeds from the sale of the property held in trust – no evidence so as to make it reasonably arguable, as justified a hearing, that the parties held their respective interests on any other basis than beneficially as tenants in common in equal undivided shares
SECTION 228(2)(a) PROPERTY LAW ACT 1958 – whether just and fair that there should be a partial distribution between the parties in equal shares of a portion of the net proceeds of sale, or whether there should be only a final distribution following the winding up of the unincorporated business in the names of the parties, through which the parties entered into transactions concerning the property and previously held properties, and by which the parties made tax returns in respect of them – held just and fair that there should be an interim distribution
Also ordered just and fair that remaining monies, following the partial distribution, be held in trust pending a determination of the liability of the parties to third parties (if any), a determination whether there have been any unequal distributions between the parties the possibility of which is left open by the applicant, and any compensation payable to the respondent for payments allegedly made by him to fund the parties’ joint operating account
COSTS OF ENQUIRY – costs of an enquiry where an applicant as co-owner of investment property apprehends a distribution of net receipts not in proportion to its entitlement, but makes no positive allegation in the proceeding of this having occurred – ordered that the costs of such enquiry should be paid in the first instance from the balance of the fund following the partial distribution, but that if no unequal distributions found, or if any such distributions held to be de minimis, the respondent to be reimbursed in respect of such costs by the fund, or otherwise by the applicant. 

Leahy v Javni [2020] VSC 680
CONTRACT LAW – Sale of Land formation – offer and acceptance – conditional offer – whether defendant made conditional offer – whether offer withdrawn – Electronic Transactions (Victoria Act) 2000, s 13A
CONTRACT LAW – formation – offer and acceptance – method of acceptance – time of acceptance – when is acceptance conveyed to other party
LEGAL PRACTITIONERS – scope of authority – actual or ostensible – whether authority to receive notice of acceptance of offer
SALE OF LAND – cooling off provisions – Vendor’s right to retain percentage of deposit – whether rights exist when deposit not paid – Sale of Land Act 1962 s 31(4).

Verraty Pty Ltd v Richmond Football Club Ltd [2020] VSCA 267
LEASE – premises satisfied definition of ‘retail premises’ in Retail Leases Act 2003 at commencement of lease but ceased to do so during term of lease – whether lease ceased to be a ‘retail premises lease’ subject to Act upon premises ceasing to satisfy definition of ‘retail premises’ – appeal dismissed
LEASE – effect of voiding provisions in Retail Leases Act 2003.

Cobram & District Pony Club Inc v Muckatah Recreation Reserve Committee of Management (Building and Property) [2020] VCAT 1141
LICENCES – Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 (Vic) – interpretation of licence – definitions of improvements, buildings and structures - ownership of structures, buildings and improvements on licensed land – trade fixtures – chattels. 

The Chief Executive, Office of Fair Trading, Department of Justice and Attorney-General v Smith [2020] QCAT 389
PROFESSIONS AND TRADES – AUCTIONEERS AND AGENTS – STATUTORY OR OTHER FIDELITY OR COMPENSATION FUND – where payments from claim fund made to clients of real estate agent – whether agent liable to reimburse Agents Financial Administration Act 2014 Qld s 119

Glamston Pty Ltd v 11 Ludlow Pty Ltd & Anor [2020] QPEC 54
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT – APPLICATION – whether there is jurisdiction to grant the declaratory relief sought – code assessable development – originating application seeking declaration that a prospective change to a development application is not a minor change
Planning Act 2016 Qld; Planning and Environment Court Act 2016 Qld; Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 Qld.

Realm Business Technology Pty Ltd as Tte v Redland City Council [2020] QLC 35
REAL PROPERTY – RATES AND CHARGES – RATING OF LAND – REVIEW OF DECISIONS – APPEALS – QUEENSLAND – where the appellant company owned a house and land on Russell Island – where the house was the principal place of residence of the company’s two directors – where the respondent council levied differential rates for residential land on Russell Island – where the council rated the land as category 2a, which was for land on which there was a residential structure that was not the registered owner’s principal place of residence – where the appellant contended that the land should have been rated as category 1a, which was for land on which there was a residential structure that was the registered owner’s principal place of residence – whether the land could be rated as category 1a given that the registered owner of the land was a company – where the appeal was dismissed.Land Court Act 2000 Qld s 27A.

Cases to 19 October 2020

Stainley v Harris & Anor [2020] QCAT 382
REAL PROPERTY – BOUNDARIES OF LAND AND FENCING – FENCES AND FENCING – ADJOINING LAND – where applicant applied for an interim order for removal of timber screens attached to fence between the applicant’s and respondents’ land given the respondents’ proposed sale of their land - whether appropriate in the interests of justice to make the order. Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011 Qld s 27; Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 Qld s 58.

Aurisch v Fong & Anor [2020] QCAT 380
REAL PROPERTY – BOUNDARIES OF LAND AND FENCING – FENCES AND FENCING – ADJOINING LAND – where fencing works urgent – where only three days’ notice to fence given
Building Act 1975 Qld s 245XD, s 245XH, s 245XK, s 245XM, s 245XQ
Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011 Qld s 9, s 12, s 20, s 28, s 31, s 32, s 35.

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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