Spike in complaints about off-the-plan developments
New South Wales Fair Trading has recorded a rise in grievances with off-the-plan sales.
NSW Fair Trading said the sale of off-the-plan properties becomes particularly complicated when multiple agents have been contracted for the same development.
The government department released some guidelines reminding sales agents and developers of their obligations when marketing these properties to consumers, which investors can use to ensure their off-the-plan purchases are above board.
Companies marketing off-the-plan properties are not allowed to: • Advertise a property that is less expensive than other similar properties if the advertised property is no longer available • Indicate a price range for a property if the lower-end of the range is significantly less than the value of the property • Hold onto an expression of interest payment if the customer is not successful in purchasing the property they made the payment for • Apply high pressure tactics on customers to purchase another, more expensive, property if the property they are interested in is no longer available
NSW Fair Trading said unsuccessful investors should have their expression of interest payments returned immediately and it was up to the agent to keep track of the property’s status.