Changes to Section 32 of the Sale of Land Act 1962

With the ever increasing need to protect consumers, the Victorian government has decided to change the requirements within section 32 of the Sale of Land Act 1962. This provision governs the primary documentation which is required by the seller of any property, to be given to prospective purchases prior to entering into a contract for the sale of that property.

Traditionally there have been many requirements which sellers, estate agents, conveyancers and solicitors had to adhere to pursuant to this provision. These requirements have always been important for the protection of consumers and particularly for purchasers of property.

Usually the provisions within section 32 of the Sale of Land Act 1962 obliged the Vendor up until settlement. If the documentation was deficient, It was sometimes possible for the purchaser to avoid the contract altogether at any time up until he/she took possession of the property.

The new provisions allow for a Due Diligence Checklist which must be provided to the purchaser. This obligation is on the Vendor, unless there is an estate agent acting as a representative, then the obligation falls on the estate agent to provide the Due Diligence Checklist.

The problem with this change is that it imposes a penalty for a failure to provide the Due Diligence Checklist under section 33 of the Sale of Land Act 1962, however does not allow for the purchaser to avoid the contract in the event that it did not receive one. The Due Diligence Checklist can be provided by way of a link on the website of the estate agent and we suspect that eventually most real estate agents will end up providing the document in this fashion.

The other issue is that it is in our opinion, likely to be seen as a minor breach if the document was not given to the purchaser, and any enforcement authorities would be more interested in reeducating the estate agent rather than actually imposing a fine for now as the changes are quite recent.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a property, contact Esquire Lawyers for assistance.