New disclosure obligations came into effect on 1 July 2010 by the enactment of the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010.
The new Act requires all sellers and landlords of commercial property of at least 2,000 square metres of net lettable area to have in place a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (“BEEC”) which must be disclosed to a prospective buyer or tenant.
The Certificate must contain at least the following:
- An energy efficiency star rating for the building based on the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (“NABERS”) scheme.
- An energy efficiency assessment of the lighting in the building.
- A report how the building’s energy efficiency may be improved.
Any owner or landlord who advertises to sell or lease the premises or part of the premises must disclose the star rating of the building in the advertisement.
All BEEC’s will be registered in a Building Energy Efficiency Register and will also be available online. The Certificate will be valid for 12 months. A Landlord must provide a copy of the certificate to a tenant within a reasonable time after the tenant requested a copy in writing.
Certain exemptions are available under the Act such as leases (including options) for a period of no more than 12 months. There is also the possibility to apply for exemptions on certain grounds.
In it recommended that Landlords have current NABERS ratings available for their commercial buildings and that leases contain provisions to compel the tenants to provide certain information in relation to the building to the landlord to enable the landlord to apply for a BEEC or to keep the BEEC updated.
It is envisaged that around 2012 the Government will consider expanding the requirements to other commercial buildings, retail buildings, hotels, schools and hospitals.
Several penalties will be enforced if a Landlord does not comply with its obligations under the Act.
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