Are you stuck holding money in trust?
As Conveyancing Solicitors, we often receive calls from Agents to provide guidance on what to do with deposits held on trust for Queensland Conveyancing contracts which have terminated or settled some time ago, but authority has not been received.
The Agents Financial Administration Act 2014 stipulates that you must receive authorisation from all parties of the conveyance before release of a deposit can occur.
So what happens if you understand that a legal dispute has arisen and authorisation to release the deposit is not provided by one or all parties?
The Act provides that if you hold deposit which is in dispute, then you may:
1. Give all parties written notice that you believe a particular party is entitled to the deposit; and
2. advise in writing that you are authorised under the Act to pay the deposit to the party stated in the notice on or after the expiration of 60 days’ notice unless,
(a) you receive notice that proceedings have commenced; or
(b) all parties otherwise authorise payment of the deposit.
To help you give notice under the Act, we’ve prepared a simple template (available here) or by visiting the Agent’s Corner on our website. For advice on any specific situation one of our property solicitors would be happy to assist you (free of charge).
The Act also provides that:
(a) any release of payment made by the Agent will not be a determination of which party is ultimately entitled to the deposit; and
(b) that you will have no civil liability if the payment is in fact made to a party that was not entitled to it.