On 1 December, the new penalty regime for illegal foreign property purchases is expected to come into effect. The new laws will for the first time capture third party facilitators like real estate agents, accountants, and lawyers, who will face fines of $45,000 for individuals and $225,000 for a company if they knowingly assist foreign buyers to break the law.
The bill introduces a range of new and stricter penalties that will enable breaches to be dealt with according to the severity of the breach, Assistant Treasurer, Kelly O’Dywer told parliament.
The existing criminal penalties will be increased from $90,000 to $135,000 for individuals and from $450,000 to $675,000 for companies. These will be supplemented by civil pecuniary penalties and infringement notices for less serious breaches of the residential real estate rules.
“For the very first time, third parties such as real estate agents, migration agents, conveyancers and lawyers who knowingly assist a foreign investor to breach the rules will also now be subject to both civil and criminal penalties,” said Ms O’Dwyer.