Vendors cannot extend the registration date for the plan of
The landmark decision of the Victorian Supreme Court in
Solid Investments v Clifford  VSCA 59
(Clifford Case) is a reminder that it is crucial
for vendors to specify a date for registration of the plan of
subdivision that is "fixed, definite and certain".
In the Clifford Case, the off-the-plan contracts stipulated
that, if the plan of subdivision was not registered within 30
months from the day of sale, the purchaser could rescind the
contracts. The contracts contained the usual provision allowing the
registration date to be extended on the occurrence of specified
events, which the vendor relied upon.
Section 9AE(2) of the Saleof Land Act 1962 (Vic)
(Act) provides the purchaser with a statutory
right to rescind the contract if the plan of subdivision is not
registered within 18 months or another period specified in the
contract. The purchasers sought to rescind the contract and argued
that section 9AE(2) of the Act prevented the vendor from extending
the registration date.
At first instance, Justice Bongiorno held that, if the parties
wanted to specify a period for registration of the plan of
subdivision other than the statutory period, then that other period
must be specified in the contract of sale. The parties cannot
change this period, once specified in the contract, whether by
subsequent agreement or by any other provision of the contract.
The vendor's appeal from the decision of Bongiorno J was
unanimously dismissed by the Court of Appeal.
The Clifford Case creates uncertainty for property developers as
they can no longer rely on the usual provisions in off-the-plan
contracts to extend the date for registration of the plan of
subdivision. In practical terms, property developers will now need
to factor in potential delays in fixing an appropriate registration
New Australian Consumer Law commenced on 1 January 2011
Since our e-alerts late last year on the likely impact of the
new Australian Consumer Law reforms on property developers (Further
significant changes for property developers and Maximum
deposits for off-the-plan sales contracts), the new
Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)
(Act), which implements the national uniform
consumer law in Australia, came into effect on 1 January 2011.
Property developers must ensure that their off-the-plan contracts
of sale comply with Act. There are heavy penalties for breaches of
Mandatory compliance with Building Energy Efficiency
The national mandatory disclosure scheme established under the
Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010 (Cth)
(Act) commenced on 1 November 2010. For a summary
of the compliance requirements under the Act, refer to our e-alert
we released in October 2010 (Energy
Efficiency disclosure). Owners, landlords and sub-landlords
must ensure compliance with the Act, not only to avoid delays in
selling or leasing buildings caught by the Act, but also heavy
penalties for breaches of the Act.
New form of disclosure statement for the Victorian retail
As you may recall in our e-alert last year (
New disclosure statements for retail tenants), we outlined the
requirements of the new comprehensive disclosure statements which
must be used for new leases entered into or leases renewed on or
after 1 January 2011.
Those who have had to prepare the new form of disclosure
statement will agree that the additional information required are
unnecessary and time consuming. Time will tell whether this new
form of disclosure statement will be suited for the Victorian
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the issues contained in this article.
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