Subdividing and selling land

If you are a small-scale developer (5 subdivisions or fewer), many of these rules do not apply.

Disclose information

Interests and benefits

You must disclose to a potential buyer if you or someone else has interest in, or may benefit from, a sale. Use the required form to make this disclosure.

You must do this even if you are a small-scale developer.

Download the Disclosure to potential buyer (PDF, 223KB) form.

You must make this disclosure if you:

  • have at least a 15% interest in the property
  • pay any benefits (such as fees or commissions) to a third party.

Find out about interests and benefits

The land

A developer will need to clearly identify a proposed lot to a buyer. We have clarified the rules so that buyers get clear, consistent information.

For example, for subdivided land, the seller must disclose:

  • the proposed number of the lot
  • the total area of the lot
  • the proposed orientation of the lot (by referring to north).

Disclosure statement and plan

Before you enter into a contract for a proposed lot, you must give the buyer:

  • a signed disclosure statement
  • a disclosure plan.

These documents will set out the current proposed details about the lot.

The disclosure statement will set out:

  • that you have given the buyer a disclosure plan
  • whether you have applied for (or been granted) development approval
  • that settlement must be within 18 months of the day you sign the contract
  • that you must give the buyer a copy of the registered plan of survey.

The disclosure plan gives information about the lot’s:

  • dimensions and area
  • planned earthworks during the development
  • proposed orientation (by referring to north).

A registered cadastral surveyor will need to prepare your disclosure plan. This will give greater protection and confidence for consumers.

The Surveyors Board Queensland can help you learn more or find a registered surveyor.

If a disclosure is incorrect (due to error or a change in plans), you will need to:

  • issue a statement to change the original disclosure
  • give this to the buyer (as soon as practicable) after the proposed lot is registered.

Deposit trust monies

A buyer must directly pay into a trust account, any money that is going towards the buying or paying off of a proposed lot.

The trust account must be administered by:

  • a real estate agent
  • a law practice
  • the Public Trustee.

Your contract may set out a specific entity (in any of the above categories) to administer the trust monies. If a specific entity is not set out, you will need to use the Public Trustee. It is an offence to breach these provisions.

The maximum penalty is $24,380 or 1 year imprisonment.

These now apply to any payment toward a proposed lot, regardless of whether they were set out in the sale contract or any other instrument (such as an invoice for a part-payment).

Your trust account administrator will need to follow the usual laws that cover how they deal with trust monies. They will need to follow the trust account rules:

Terminate a contract

A buyer has a right to terminate the contract if:

  • they find out that there is a change to the initial disclosure about the state of the land, and
  • the change will cause a significant disadvantage for the buyer (known as material prejudice).

This could be (whichever is sooner):

  • within 30 days of receiving the notification
  • before the title of ownership transfers to the buyer.

In this approach:

  • the seller must notify the buyer of a change between the disclosure material relating to the proposed lot and the proposed final product
  • the buyer must show that the change is a significant disadvantage to terminate the contract
  • the Courts have set a precedent to decide if a disadvantage is a material prejudice.