Property Update

 Monday, September 02, 2013

First Home Buyers in Victoria and New South Wales

From 1 July 2013 the Victorian government increased the First Home Owner Grant from $7,000.00 to $10,000.00. The Grant is only available to first home buyers who are purchasing a new home, that is, a home that has not previously been occupied as a residence, or vacant land upon which a new home is to be built.

The restriction of the availability of the First Home Owner Grant to first home buyers purchasing a new home or vacant land has already been in place in New South Wales although the Grant is $15,000.00. The Grant was to be reduced to $10,000.00 from 1 January 2014 however the New South Wales government has recently announced that the Grant will instead decrease to $10,000.00 from 1 January 2016.

Fire Services Property Levy

The Fire Services Property Levy has been incorporated into your council rates in Victoria from 1 July 2013 as a replacement to the previous insurance based levy. The value of the levy depends upon a variety of factors such as the location, type and value of your property.

Further information on the levy, including a tool to estimate the value of the levy imposed on your property, is available at www.firelevy.vic.gov.au.

Swimming Pools

In an effort to reduced child drownings in household swimming pools, the recently introduced Swimming Pools (Amendment) Act 2012 requires all homeowners in New South Wales to register their pool or spa online prior to 29 October 2013. Failure to do so may result in a fine. Registrations can be completed at swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au and the website provides checklists based on the type of property and pool or spa to enable homeowners to independently assess whether their pool or spa meets the standard safety regulations. If you are purchasing a property in New South Wales which has a pool or spa prior to 29 October 2013 you may check the register to determine whether the pool or spa has already been registered.

Councils will also be required to have implemented an inspection program by 29 October 2013 and to compile reports on levels of compliance with the safety regulations.

Homeowners looking to sell or lease their property from 1 April 2014 will also be required to provide a compliance certificate issued by their local council certifying that the council’s inspection has found the pool to be compliant with safety regulations.

Sale of Properties in Bushfire Prone Areas

From 31 July 2013 all vendor’s statements for a sale of a Victorian property are required to include a statement as to whether the property is situated in a bushfire prone area. Failure to do so may result in a purchaser being able to rescind a contract at any time up to and including the day of settlement.

It is vital that buyers are aware of whether the property they are proposing to purchase is situated within a bushfire prone area particularly where they are intending to build on the land. Various Bushfire Attack Levels have been implemented which recommend the building materials that should be used when building in a bushfire prone area.

For further information on any of the above topics, please contact a member of our Property Law team.