Be aware of new bushfire prone rules for property sales
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. gov.au where specific addresses can be searched and bushfire prone area maps are available,” Mr Raimondo advised.