What is a cooling-off period in your property contract?

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In Queensland, the cooling-off period is a 5 business day period that applies to contracts for the sale of residential property.

It allows for a Buyer to withdraw from a contract within the cooling-off period. The cooling-off period does not apply to Sellers.

When does the cooling-off period commence?

The cooling-off period commences the day that a buyer, or their solicitor, receives a copy of the fully signed contract. It does not commence on the date that the contract is signed. Sometimes an agent may take several days to send a fully executed contract, and if this occurs, the cooling-off period does not commence until the contract is received by the Buyer or their Solicitor.

For example, if a contract is fully signed and then provided to the Buyer on a Monday, the cooling off period ends on the Friday. It is 5 business days including the date of receipt, not 5 business days from the date of receipt.

For a contract that has been received by the Buyer on a weekend or public holiday, the cooling-off period commence on the next business day.

The cooling-off period ends at 5pm on the 5th business day. Cooling-off period legislation varies from state to state, so other states may have shorter or longer periods.

Are there any circumstances where the cooling-off period does not apply?

The following contracts are exempt from the cooling-off period:

  1. A sale by auction, or a follow-up sale after auction where the buyer was a registered bidder;
  2. Commercial property contracts;
  3. Option contracts;
  4. Where the buyer is a publicly listed corporation, or a state or statutory body;
  5. Where the buyer is purchasing at least 3 lots at the same time (regardless of whether they are in the same contract); and
  6. Where the buyer has expressly waived their right to a cooling-off period.

Are there any consequences if I terminate a contract within the cooling-off period?

Yes, there can be. See our blog in relation to such consequences for further information.

If you require assistance terminating a contract under the cooling-off period, or have queries about your cooling-off rights, please get in touch with us here.

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