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Amendments to Section 32 of the Sale of Land Act

The Sale of Land Amendment Act 2014 (Vic) (Amendment Act) will amend the Sale of Land Act 1962 (Vic) (SLA). The purpose of the Amendment Act is to re-enact, reform and modernise the provisions relating to statements made under section 32 of the SLA and to make related and consequential amendments to the Owners Corporation Act 2006.

Vendor's Statement 

The Amendment Act provides that the vendor’s statement need not be attached to the contract, but must be given to the purchaser before the purchaser signs the contract. Where vendor’s statements have been given before the Amendment Act commences, it will not be necessary to give a new vendor’s statement provided the land is not withdrawn from sale. 

Planning Scheme 

Where a planning scheme applies to the land, the vendor’s statement must now include the name of any planning overlay affecting the land.

Disclosure of Notices 

Pursuant to the Amendment Act a vendor’s statement must disclose where a notice, order, declaration, report or recommendation of a public authority or government department or approved proposal that is directly and currently affecting the land. The intention of the Amendments Act is provide current notices relating to the property, rather than historical information. 

Disclosure of Essential Services 

The SLA requires the vendor’s statement to disclose essential services that are connected or not connected to the property. This obligation will no longer apply as the vendor’s statement must only disclose essential services such as gas, electricity, water, sewerage and telephone that are not connected to the property. 

Owners Corporation Certificates No Longer Compulsory to Provide 

The Amendment Act provides that it is no longer compulsory to attach an owners corporation certificate to the vendor’s statement. However, the vendor must provide the information that is currently provided in the owners corporation certificate in the vendor’s statement. 

Inactive Owners Corporations will not be Required to Provide a Certificate 

The Amendment Act will amend the SLA so that if an owners corporation is inactive, the vendor’s statement only needs to state this. There is no requirement to provide an owners corporation certificate or owners corporation information (as discussed above) in the vendor’s statement.  

An inactive owners corporation is defined by inactivity in the previous 15 months. The definition of ‘inactive’ includes an owners corporation that has not: 
  1. had an annual general meeting; 
  2. fixed any fees; and
  3. held any insurance. 
All of the above requirements must be met for the owners corporation to be classified as inactive. 

Due Diligence Checklist 

A new due diligence checklist will need to be given to prospective purchaser of vacant residential land or land which has a residence, from the time that the land is offered for sale. The checklist must be in the form approved by the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV). 

A due diligence checklist is not require to be provided by a vendor, where the vendor has engaged a licensed estate agent to act for the vendor. In this situation, the licensed estate agent must ensure that the checklist is made available to any prospective purchaser from the time that the land is offered for sale. 

For the purposes of the Amendment Act, the checklist is made available if: 
  1. copies are on display or offered to prospective purchasers at any inspection of the land; 
  2. any internet site maintained by the vendor and any person acting as a licensed estate agent of the vendor where the land is offered for sale, allows access to a copy of the checklist directly or via a link to another website where a copy may be obtained. 

Penalties  

Under the Amendment Act the purchaser may rescind the contract where false information is provided or information is not provided or a vendor’s statement is not provided. At present, the right to rescind the contract is subject to the purchaser proving that the vendor acted unreasonably and the purchaser has suffered a detriment. 

Commencement

The Amendment Act has received Royal Assent and will come into operation on 1 October 2014. As the provisions are not yet operative, no action is necessary at present. However, from the 1 October 2014 all vendor’s statement must comply with the Amendment Act to be valid. 
 
Published July 2014

For further advice or assistance

Contact Jamie McCallum on 5337 0253 or jmccallum@nevetts.com.au

The information in this publication or on this website is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult a lawyer for individual advice about your particular circumstances.
The information on this website is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult a lawyer for individual advice about your particular circumstances. Nevett Ford do not warrant that information contained in links to third party sites are correct and accept no responsibility for the accuracy and reliability or any other matter in relation to a third party site.