Real estate laws anger

Written By miftah nugraha on Kamis, 11 April 2013 | 19.55

THE real estate industry has reacted angrily to State Government legislation it says will hurt the struggling sector.

In a letter to all members yesterday, Real Estate Institute of Tasmania president Adrian Kelly blasted the new Bill that introduces longer cooling off periods and other changes affecting the sale of residential property.

Mr Kelly said the industry could ill afford the changes when it was already struggling with the lowest sales volumes in two decades.

"It doesn't solve any of the issues that we do have in transacting property," he said.

"What it will do is slow down the entire sales process, a process that in Tasmania remains simple, cost-effective and robust.

"Despite numerous meetings with government our concerns, particularly in the currently flat Tasmanian property market, have been ignored.

"We also raised concerns on numerous occasions about the extra cost, particularly for those who can least afford it – blue-collar workers, first-home buyers and the elderly.

"In the [REIT] board's view, government should be immediately fixing other larger problems such as encouraging more first-home buyers into the market, getting the planning schemes debacle sorted ... and abolishing state-based taxes that are an inhibitor to people purchasing property.

"This Government has stated time and time again that they are about reducing red tape to make it easier for Tasmanians to do business. This Bill will do the exact opposite."

A spokesman for Consumer Protection Minister Nick McKim said the REIT had been consulted on the Bill regularly and was presented with the final draft of the legislation.

"The Minister does not apologise for wanting to give greater protections to people buying properties," the spokesman said.

"Extending the cooling-off period from three to five days is not going to add any red tape to a property purchase."

Mr Kelly last night said the REIT had been consulted about the first draft of the Bill more than a year ago but the new Residential Property Transactions Bill "which popped up yesterday" was very different.

"We never accepted what they proposed was a good thing to do. We wanted similar methods used in Victoria. Now we're doing something that has never been trialled," he said.

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