The Queensland government has amended legislation to make it mandatory for sellers of residential property to complete and sign a sustainability declaration from 1 January 2010.
An Overview of the Sustainability Declaration
The Queensland government has amended legislation to make it mandatory for sellers of residential property to complete and sign a sustainability declaration from 1 January 2010. These changes will have a significant impact on the sellers of residential property in Queensland, and the real estate industry.
Some key points for sellers and real estate agents are summarised below:
- It will be mandatory for sellers to complete the statutory sustainability declaration form before their property (any residential home or unit) is marketed for sale (either through private sale or with an agent). This requirement will apply to all properties being marketed as at 1 January 2010. This includes new listings from 1 January, plus existing listings being marketed as at 1 January;
- The seller or agent cannot give a prospective buyer a brochure (or other similar document) marketing or advertising the sale of the property unless the person has been given either a copy of the current sustainability declaration OR a copy of the declaration accompanies the document;
- At any time the property is open for inspection (by either the seller or agent) the sustainability declaration must be conspicuously displayed so prospective buyers entering the property can view the declaration. If the property is an inspection by appointment (as opposed to an open house), the prospective buyer must either be given a copy of the declaration prior to entering or the declaration must be conspicuously displayed during the inspection time;
- If a buyer incurs a loss or expense because the seller provides a false or misleading declaration or the document is not prepared with reasonable skill and care, the seller may be liable to compensate the buyer for the loss or expense;
- The buyer will have no right to terminate a contract if the declaration is incomplete or contains information that is false or misleading.
- Absentee sellers, including investors, may have to engage a suitably qualified third party to complete the declaration on the seller’s behalf. The Building Act imposes a legislative duty on all sellers of residential houses and units in Queensland to complete the declaration or to appoint a representative, or third party such as a builder to complete the form. It is important to note that the Building Act requires the seller to sign the form. The real estate agent should not under any circumstances complete the form in part or full.
- The final version is expected to be released in December 2009, and can be downloaded from the Department of Infrastructure and Planning website www.dip.qld.gov.au. The form on the government website must be used from 1 January 2010.