Be aware of new bush­fire prone rules for prop­erty sales

Mansfield Courier - - OPINIONS/PEOPLE -

JAN­UARY’S heatwave was a re­minder of just how pun­ish­ing Vic­to­ria’s sum­mers can be.

“Our air con­di­tioned homes are refuge from the heat, but it is also es­sen­tial to be pre­pared for the pos­si­bil­ity of bush­fires and to de­velop a bush­fire plan,” said Real Es­tate In­dus­try Vic­to­ria’s ( REIV) chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Enzo Rai­mondo.

“The first step is know­ing whether your home is in a bush­fire prone area.”

From July 31, 2013 any­one sell­ing a prop­erty must pro­vide that in­for­ma­tion in the Sec­tion 32 state­ment for would-be buy­ers.

The change, the re­sult of an amend­ment to the Sale of Land Act 1962, fol­lowed a rec­om­men­da­tion by the 2009 Vic­to­rian Bush­fire Royal Com­mis­sion into the Black Satur­day bush­fires.

REIV a g e n t s k n ow that this is the ven­dor’s r espon­si­bil­ity and t hat it is their role to re­mind the ven­dor to in­clude this in­for­ma­tion.

Not do­ing so could be po­ten­tially se­ri­ous – pro­vid­ing in­ac­cu­rate or in­com­plete in­for­ma­tion in a ven­dor state­ment can mean the buyer has the op­por­tu­nity to re­scind the con­tract at any time be­fore set­tle­ment.

“For buy­ers, this is ex­tremely valu­able in­for­ma­tion and should be read care- fully,” Mr Rai­mondo said.

“If you have en­gaged a buy­ers’ ad­vo­cate to ad­vise you, t hey should make sure you know the bush­fire sta­tus of any home you are think­ing of buy­ing.

“While the re­quire­ment may seem rel­e­vant only to ru­ral ar­eas, in fact it ap­plies right across the state in­clud­ing prop­er­ties on the out­skirts of ma­jor re­gional towns and outer Mel­bourne sub­urbs such as Frankston.

“Don’t make any as­sump­tions, just be­cause the prop­erty is near a town or in an es­tate.”

I n Au­gust 2013 t he state’s Bush­fire Prone Area maps, spec­i­fy­ing ar­eas prone to or likely to be prone to bush­fire, were up­dated.

Al­most 236,000 prop­er­ties were re­moved from the reg­u­la­tions as a re­sult of the re­view, but an­other 119,000 were added for the first time.

These re­views en­sure the maps are as up-to-date as pos­si­ble, and with an­other hav­ing taken place in late 2013 fur­ther changes are likely.

“So be sure you have the most up-to-date in­for­ma­tion by go­ing to Vic­to­rian Govern­ment’s Land Chan­nel www. l and. vic. where spe­cific ad­dresses can be searched and bush­fire prone area maps are avail­able,” Mr Rai­mondo ad­vised.

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