By Tony Baldwin, Partner and Janelle Metcalf,
Premier Anna Bligh has announced some good news for the many
Queensland property owners affected by recent flooding and Cyclone
Yasi. The Premier has proposed to:
postpone the issue of land valuations for three months, with
some properties to be revalued during that time; and
delay enforcement of the new pool safety laws for landlords for
The proposals are set to be introduced into Parliament this week
as part of the proposed Queensland Reconstruction Authority Bill
2011. The Bill is expected to operate retrospectively from 8
January 2011 for a period of six months.
Land valuation reassessments
Late last year, land valuations were undertaken using the new
'site' valuation method under the Land Valuation
Act 2010 (Qld). These valuations were due to be declared by 31
March 2011. However, due to the significant damage to many
properties around Queensland as a result of flooding and Cyclone
Yasi, the State Valuer-General, Neil Bray, has recommended that the
release of these valuations be postponed until 30 June 2011.
Many properties will need to be revalued, as valuations
conducted late last year may no longer be accurate due to damage
caused by the recent natural disasters. Valuers are to inspect
properties and use spatial imagery to make valuation adjustments
where necessary. They will also consider historical data, such as
the effect the 1974 floods had on property valuations.
The Land Valuation Act allows for an owner to request an amended
valuation if the land has been permanently damaged as a result of a
flood, cyclone or other adverse natural cause (over which the owner
has no control), and if the Valuer-General considers that the
damage has changed the land's value.
The move to reassess some valuations may minimise the number of
these claims. However, owners who are thinking about making a claim
must bear in mind that they have only six months from the date the
permanent damage occurred to do so. If the new valuations come out
in June 2011, there may be only a small window of opportunity for
owners to prepare their submission (based on damage incurred in
January 2011), and owners should be mindful of this timeframe.
As the land valuation issued by the Valuer-General is used by
Councils to calculate rates and the State Government to calculate
land tax, owners should pay careful attention to the valuations
received in the coming months.
Pool safety requirements
Changes were introduced to the Building Act 1975 (Qld)
by the Building and Other Legislation Amendment Act (No.
2) 2010 on 1 December 2010. Owners of properties in Queensland with
pools are now required to meet
minimum safety requirements, and comply with disclosure
For rental properties with a non-shared pool, owners are
required to have a valid pool safety certificate before a rental
agreement is entered into. With an increased demand for rental
properties as a result of the recent natural disasters, there has
been concern that this requirement may affect the availability of
rental properties. The proposed six month reprieve is intended to
allow additional housing stock to become available for immediate
occupation by people who have been displaced from their own
It is expected that the proposed Bill will allow owners to rent
their properties without a valid pool safety certificate if they
first provide the tenant with a notice advising that the pool may
not comply with pool safety laws, and may pose a risk to young
Further details about the issue of land valuations and the six
month amnesty for pool safety certificates for rental premises will
be known once the Bill is introduced into Parliament later this
For more information about the Land Valuation Act or the new
pool fencing requirements, please contact HopgoodGanim's
Commercial Property team.
Many retail leases include a covenant to trade, requiring the tenant to open the premises for trade during certain hours.
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