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The Cost of Living Amendment Bill 2012 (COLA) amendments to the Building Act 1975 came into effect on June 27 and they mean that property sellers now have one less item of red tape to worry about.
Where a sustainability declaration has already been created for a property, there is no longer any requirement for property sellers or real estate agents to provide a copy of these for potential buyers.
Both buyers and sellers are happy see the end of sustainability declarations, as they were flawed in a number of ways and in some cases were open to fraud and abuse.
The amendments to the Building Act have retained protections for buyers and sellers where inaccurate or misleading information was included in a sustainability declaration however.
The amendments outline that a contract may not be terminated simply because of a false or misleading sustainability declaration. The amendments also outline that a buyer who has been disadvantaged because of a false or misleading sustainability declaration may still be awarded compensation.
There are concerns that the removal of sustainability declarations will prevent buyers from obtaining energy and water efficiency information about a property, but it is up to buyers to educate themselves about the aspects of a property that are important to them and then discuss this in the buying process.
Further information about the Building Act amendment can be found at www.dlgp.qld.gov.au/sustainable-housing/sustainability-declaration.html.