Landmark Port Douglas case over ’get out of jail free’ clause
A PORT Douglas unit has been at the centre of an intriguing legal case relating to potential buyers using the ‘‘subject to finance’’ clause in a sale contract as a ‘‘get out of jail free card’’. Anne Marie Miller agreed to buy a Port Douglas unit for $575,000 in Sep- tember 2010 on the condition she secured a loan for $400,000 from ING Bank within seven days. Under standard sale contracts buyers must take ‘‘all reasonable steps to obtain finance’’. However, the woman’s mortgage broker never submitted a formal application to ING Bank. Instead, the broker made an application to The Rock Building Society. The building society could not approve the loan application by the nominated date and Ms Miller terminated the contract. Not satisfied, unit owners Trevor and Irene Hauff demanded to see evidence that Ms Miller made a sufficient effort to obtain a loan from ING Bank, as stipulated in the contract. The Hauffs took their case to the Supreme Court, which ruled in their favour.