Real Estate Institutes call for e-contracts legislation amendments

All nine Australian Real Estate Institutes have joined together to call for changes in legislation to enable contracts for sale of land and other property related documents to be created via on-line forms that are safe and simple to understand and use.

In a submission to all Australian Governments co-ordinated by Tim McKibbin, CEO of the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales and lawyer Mark Morgan, a property partner at Colin Biggers & Paisley, the Real Estate Institutes have called for the repeal of Electronic Transactions (ET) legislative provisions (“exemptions”) which are confusing what procedure should be followed if an e-contract needs to be signed by a company; if a signature needs to be witnessed and, in the case of South Australia only, if an e-contract relates to a land transaction.

Mr Morgan said these exemptions are obstructing the development of consumer friendly e-contracts for most property related transactions including land sale contracts, sales agency agreements, residential and retail lease agreements and property management agreements.

“The exemptions leave property industry professionals and consumers unable to utilise the existing national ET code as a guide for procedure in relation to the creation, transmission and signing of e-contracts,” Mr Morgan said.

“This has led to uncertainty and confusion as to what procedures should govern property industry e-contract transactions, and as a result has seriously delayed the development of property industry e-contracts that a consumer can easily access by computer and are safe and simple to understand and use.”

Mr McKibbin said the submission represented a landmark gathering of all Australia Real Estate Institutes.

“We all recognise the importance of removing the barrier to widespread use of e-contracts and call for changes to Commonwealth, State and Territory legislation to address unintended consequences within the regulations,” he said.

The Submission was made on 18 November 2015 and is attached.

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