April 10, 2012
South Burnett real estate agents have welcomed an announcement by the State Government that it will scrap the controversial Sustainability Declarations introduced in 2010.
Deputy Premier and Member for Callide Jeff Seeney said yesterday that laws to eliminate sustainability declaration forms would be among the first pieces of legislation that would be introduced by the new State Government when Parliament resumes in mid-May.
The controversial forms were aimed at tackling climate change but estate agents claim they have burdened home sellers since their introduction.
The forms were supposed to provide a way for buyers to easily compare the energy efficiency credentials of competing properties. The initial two-page form required sellers to detail everything from the star rating of appliances to the width of hallways before they could put their property on the market.
But after an outcry from sellers and the real estate industry, the State Government amended the form by removing almost a third of the original questions.
Despite the revisions and a fine amnesty, the real estate industry continued to call for the forms to be scrapped, and during the recent election campaign the LNP said it would do so if elected.
Murgon Real Estate principal Margaret Long said today the government’s plans were “very welcome news”.
“Our experience has been that buyers and sellers both found the Sustainability Declarations pointless,” she said. “They might possibly have been useful in the city where you had, say, 25 properties to compare and wanted to quickly sort out which ones were worth your time physically inspecting.
“But here in the country, a buyer inspecting a property can see nearly all the features covered on a declaration form. So all it amounted to was more unnecessary paperwork for everyone.”
Nanango Real Estate’s Jane Erkens agreed.
“I’ve never had a single buyer ask to see a Sustainability Declaration,” she said. “There’s no real point to them in the country and I think abolishing them is a very positive step.”
A spokesperson from Freeman Estates in Kingaroy also thought the move was “a great idea”.
“As the region’s largest real estate agency we handle hundreds of property sales every year,” she said. “We’re in favour of anything that reduces paperwork and makes the process easier for buyers and sellers. So we really welcome this.”
Mr Seeney said the State Government would also streamline home sale contracts and reinstate the $7000 residential stamp duty concession as part of an effort to reinvigorate the State’s property market.