Choice is yours as changes reduce expense

HOME affordability has been given a boost thanks to new laws scrapping the requirement for new properties to include rainwater tanks and energy efficient hot water systems.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Tim Mander said the changes were effective as of the start of this month and were expected to reduce the cost of a new home by more than $5000.

"That's good news for people looking to enter the property market and good news for the construction sector," Mr Mander said.

"Under the old laws people had no choice but to install a rainwater tank, regardless of whether they lived on a large block with extensive gardens and a swimming pool, or lived in a townhouse with one pot plant.

"Under these changes people are free to make decisions based on their own budget and lifestyle.

"People who want to install rainwater tanks or a particular type of hot water system can still do so.

"The difference is that the decision is now theirs to make."

Helen Harm of Helen Harm's Real Estate said she agreed with the change.

"In theory it was good," she said. "But the tanks on offer were too small for the rainfall we get here.

"The way some of them were set up took up a lot of yard space."

Mrs Harm agreed that it would reduce the cost of building a new home.

"You will save the cost of the pump, the tank and plumbing costs," she said.

Mr Mander said the changes would also let owners of existing homes replace a broken electric hot water system with a similar model.

"Under the old laws, people who lived in areas with reticulated natural gas were restricted to gas, solar or heat pump hot water systems, which often cost thousands of dollars more than the electric model they were replacing.

"Replacing a broken hot water system is often a significant, not to mention unexpected, expense and it's not fair to force people to choose the more expensive product."

Many Warwick Daily News Facebook users thought the decision was a backward step.

"Bad change. What's wrong with everybody stockpiling some rainwater," Fay Webber said.

"I think it should be compulsory to install solar panels."

Lyn Prowse-Bishop said it was a short-sighted move.

"Can't understand why all new houses don't automatically come with tanks and solar panels," she said.

"Bit of a no-brainer really.

"Just because we've had loads of rain and dams are full now, doesn't mean it'll always be so."

Colette Williamson agreed.

"Every home should have a rainwater tank and efficient hot water, whether it be new or old," she said.

Under the new laws, councils will be able to opt to retain mandatory rainwater tank requirements where they can prove a net benefit to the community.

Let us know what you think.

Head to the Warwick Daily News Facebook page to have your say.

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