Queensland councils want to mandate flood risk publishing for property buyers, with a south-east mayor describing the move as “common sense”.
- A property’s flood risk should be disclosed to potential buyers, Queensland Councils say
- The new push comes as hundreds of homeowners register for voluntary buybacks following the recent floods
- The government is considering a statutory disclosure scheme, but the LGAQ says it is not strong enough
Moreton Bay Regional Council mayor Peter Flannery said his council would take the proposal to the Local Government Association of Queensland conference in October.
“Personally, I think this is common sense and something property buyers have a right to know before they buy,” Mr Flannery said.
“This could be as simple as mandatory disclosures of flooding and other natural hazards during the property transfer process or other due diligence searches.
“I think this is an important and easy change for the state government to make and I’m sure it will have the support of Queensland’s other councils.”
So far, more than 4,250 residents have registered their interest in having their homes raised, rebuilt or voluntarily bought back under the state’s $741 million Resilient Homes Fund, announced after the floods in February.
Of the 443 homeowners registered for a voluntary buyback, 70 per cent live in Brisbane and Ipswich.
Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner backed Moreton Bay’s proposal.
“You wouldn’t buy a home without first getting a pest inspection, but flood risks can be so much more devastating and expensive than termites,” Mr Schrinner said.
“It makes sense that buyers should be fully aware of any risk of flooding or natural disasters before they buy.”
Proposed Seller Information Program
Deputy Premier and State Development Minister Steven Miles says Queensland “needs to do better” to account for the effects of climate change.
“In the short term, we are looking at ways to make it easier and faster for local authorities to change their local planning arrangements to respond to the effects of flooding,” he said.
“We are also looking at ways to ensure that the risk of natural hazard is disclosed to potential buyers so they are aware of potential risks.”
Queensland is calling for submissions on a proposed statutory seller disclosure program.
Currently, it has no formal system where sellers must meet a mix of common law, statutory and contractual obligations.
Local Government Association of Queensland chief executive Alison Smith said flood risk disclosure mandates would put Queensland on par with NSW and Victoria.
“The state is currently seeking input on its proposed statutory vendor disclosure requirements, and LGAQ and its member councils will submit that the current draft does not go far enough and should include flood and other natural hazard information,” she said.
Mapping floods complicated
But Real Estate Institute of Queensland chief executive Antonia Mercorella said while mandating disclosure sounded simple, determining a property’s flood risk could become complex.
“Flooding happens for a number of reasons, so we have to be careful about what even constitutes a flood, what are the causes of a flood,” she said.
“Flood mapping is getting more sophisticated. It’s getting more reliable, but at the end of the day, Mother Nature keeps surprising us.
“Just because a property hasn’t flooded in the past, I don’t think that necessarily means it won’t flood in the future.
“And by the same token, just because a property has flooded in the past doesn’t necessarily mean it will flood again in the future.”