SYDNEY, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Authorities in the Australian State of New South Wales (NSW) have introduced sweeping new laws to better protect off-the-plan home buyers, after cracking and structural concerns rattled the nation's construction industry earlier this year.
Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello announced on Monday that as of Dec. 1 much tighter restrictions have been placed on developers, including what they must disclose to customers, and their ability to deviate from those plans.
"Buying off-the-plan is a popular option, particularly for first home buyers, but there can be risks and uncertainties involved," Dominello said.
"We are delivering on our commitment to better protect home buyers by closing down loopholes and increasing disclosure standards across the board."
Last financial year over 10 percent of residential property sales across NSW were off-the-plan, with new constructions proving particularly popular amongst buyers from China looking to enter the exclusive Sydney property market.
However, the practice came under scrutiny this year when cracks appeared in two newly built high rise apartment blocks in Sydney's west, which were immediately evacuated.
Fears were raised for the financial future of homeowners with liability of developers proving difficult to assert. In the case of one of the buildings, property owners were forced to pay for urgent repairs themselves.
New laws will now see those buying off-plan in NSW receive more information about proposed development plans, as well as having the option to end contracts or seek compensation in some cases when those plans are deviated from.
"These changes are vitally important for the NSW Government's building reforms which aim to deliver greater protections for consumers, while increasing the transparency, accountability and quality of work in the sector," Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson said.