Sustainability DeclarationA sustainability declaration is a compulsory checklist that must be completed by the seller (vendor) when selling a house, townhouse (class 1a buildings) or unit (class 2 building). It will be required as part of the sale from 1 January 2010.
The declaration will inform buyers about the sustainability features of a property and increase community awareness of the value of such features.
Properties that have a greater number of sustainability features can have lower operating costs and be more energy and water efficient. They use less energy for heating and cooling, generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions, use less water—and best of all, are more comfortable to live in.
Sustainability features such as access and safety also mean that the property will be suitable for owners during their various life stages and will reduce the need for costly future upgrades.
The checklist will identify the property’s environmental and social sustainability features in four key areas:
It will increase the awareness and marketability of the dwelling’s sustainable building features and will act as an incentive to improve the sustainability performance of Queensland’s 1.6 million existing homes.
For those homeowners who have already taken steps to improve the sustainability of their property, this means that the environmental, social and financial benefits of those features can be recognised when the property is on the market.
Frequently asked questions:-
Who should complete a sustainability declaration?
The declaration is designed to be completed by the property owner or a delegated individual. If an owner is unable to complete the form, they can seek help from another person to complete it on their behalf as long as the owner signs it. Where an owner cannot sign the form, a person authorised under a power of attorney or other statutory power may sign the form.
Is the sustainability declaration related to the contract of sale?
No. The declaration does not form part of the contract of sale.
Do advertisements need to refer to the sustainability declaration?
Yes. Under the new legislation, from 1 January 2010 real estate agents and private sellers cannot publish an advertisement for the sale of the property unless the advertisement includes information about where a copy of the sustainability declaration can be obtained. This requirement excludes advertise the sale of a particular property (e.g. generic ‘for sale’ sign).
What are the requirements for making the sustainability declaration available?
During the period that the property is on the market, certain requirements exist for making the sustainability declaration available:
– advertisements (excluding newspapers, magazines and non-property specific signs) must not be published unless they declare the location the sustainability declaration can be obtained from.
– if requested, the sustainability declaration must be made available to a prospective buyer.
Will the declaration be required at open inspections?
Yes. Whenever the home that is for sale is open to the public for inspection, the seller must ensure a copy of the sustainability declaration is visibly displayed at the site or in the dwelling. The seller’s agent is not obliged to provide a copy of the sustainability declaration to every prospective purchaser in this instance if requested.
What could happen if the information on the declaration was false or misleading?
If a buyer purchased a home and the sustainability declaration was found to be false or misleading or prepared without reasonable skill and care, the seller may be liable to compensate the buyer for the loss or expense (for example, where a seller claims that ceiling insulation is installed and it is not).
Could a buyer terminate a contract if the declaration is incorrect?
No. The buyer would not be able to terminate a contract on the basis of information contained in the sustainability declaration as the declaration does not form part of the contract of sale.
How does this affect rental properties?
A sustainability declaration is not required when a new lease is signed for rental properties. However, if a rental property is being sold, a sustainability declaration will still need to be completed.
What if I need to amend the declaration?
If the home has been upgraded during the marketing period or the seller recognises that the declaration has been incorrectly completed, the declaration should be amended or replaced. The seller should initial and date the change on the original form, or alternatively prepare and sign a replacement declaration.
This information is from the www.dip.qld.gov.au site. For further information and to view the sustainability declaration form click onto www.dip.qld.gov.au/sustainable-housing/sustainability-declaration.html