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REIQ Journal : December January 2009
Legal Issues 35 The Trade Practices Act: Be sure of your facts By Paul Hopkins, Senior Partner, Carter Newell Lawyers An article published in the November 2007 edition of the REIQ Journal identified a number of common claims made against real estate agents for misleading and deceptive conduct under the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) (TPA) and the Fair Trading Act 1989 (Qld). A RECENT MATTER brought before the Federal Court by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is a timely reminder to real estate agents of the importance of ensuring that all representations made in relation to a property are accurate. Background facts A Gold Coast property group (“the group”) developed and marketed the Tee Trees Residential Golf Community estate at Arundel, on the Gold Coast. The development includes a 700-home housing estate and features an 18-hole golf course. The construction of the golf course was the subject of significant delays. The delay was due to the fact that the group had been granted only preliminary approval from the Gold Coast City Council (GCCC) for the construction of the golf course, which required further steps be taken by the group before final approval could be granted. InMay 2003, the group distributed a letter to potential buyers of properties within the housing estate, providing an update on the golf course construction and a purported explanation of the delays. REIQ Journal December 2008/January 2009