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Serious issues affecting a property must be disclosed we explain how the law protects property buyers.

What are Material Facts when buying a property in Victoria?

 

“Material Facts” must be disclosed by vendors to potential purchasers when buying a property. Material facts are issues, defects or problems that a property has of a serious nature. This law applies when buying or selling houses in Victoria.

The law, The Sale of Land Amendment Act 2019 (the Act), was introduced to protect purchasers from vendors seeking to hide problems that may cause the buyer financial loss or harm.

Many vendors selling a property may not be aware that they need to disclose such information.

Material facts include property issues such as:

  • Building Defects
  • Existence of combustible cladding or asbestos, termite infestations, contamination
  • Development Approvals
  • Significant events such as floods or bushfires
  • Restrictions for vehicle access, such as truck curfews
  • Pesticide use for horticulture or agriculture
  • Sinkholes, surface subsidence, development Approvals in the surrounding suburbs
  • Building works with permits
  • Whether there has been a serious crime on the property, such as a murder, or use to make illegal substances such as Meth that would be a potential health hazard to the occupants.
  • Defence Force or fire brigade training area where chemicals have been used.

 

Vendor Disclosure of Material Facts

The vendor must disclose the information and continue to disclose the information up until the settlement date.

The vendor can do this in the following ways:

  • Marketing Materials or Information Statements
  • In the Section 32 or Contract of Sale
  • On physical inspection where the defects are clearly visible
  • Specific Disclosure during the course of negotiations; or
  • Before a public auction

 

If the vendor has made the Real Estate Agent aware of material facts, then the onus is passed onto the Real Estate Agent. The Agent must disclose the information to the potential buyer.

The Agent must answer any queries from a potential purchaser to the best of their knowledge and fully and frankly.

If they are unaware of any knowledge of these matters, they can advise the potential purchaser that they do not know. There is no onus of the vendor to find out whether these events have occurred in the past.

It may be the case that the Contract and Section 32 will contain such information. It is important for potential purchasers to obtaining contract advice so these disclosures are not missed.

Importantly, buyers of residential and commercial property should be aware of what they are agreeing to get legal advice before signing a contract.

If you are buying a property in Melbourne or Victoria it is good to know that you have some legal protection. Asking the Agent and vendor directly, or better, in writing, is one way to protect yourself when buying a home. Our conveyancers can help you if you are unsure on how to approach the query or if you aren’t satisfied with the response.

Many of the material facts cover property issues that can diminish the value of your property or be expensive to rectify. Meth labs and chemical hazards pose serious health risks especially to young children. If you are selling a property with issues that could be considered material fact it would be wise to get advice with your conveyancing lawyer about what you need to disclose.

It is wise to question if the property has any of these issues. Proper due diligence when buying a property is being sure that you eliminate as many risks as possible and make a sound financial investment.

Many of these issues can still be uncovered by purchasers making their own enquiries. This can be done with build and pest inspections and public records searches. Drug lab testing of residential properties is becoming more common. If there is any risk that the property may have been used as a drug lab, or by drug addicts, testing should be considered.

Conveyancing Depot is a dedicated conveyancing law firm and we can assist with any issues that vendors or purchasers may encounter.

Contact us and speak to one of our conveyancing lawyers who will be able to assist on 1300 900 440 or complete an online enquiry form.

Disclaimer: This article has been prepared for general information purposes and may not apply to your situation. This information should not be relied upon for legal, tax or accounting advice. Your individual circumstances will alter any legal advice given. The views expressed may not reflect the opinions, views or values of Conveyancing Depot and belong solely to the author of the content. © Conveyancing Depot Pty Ltd.

If you require legal advice specific to your situation please speak to one of our team members today.

About The Author

Here at Conveyancing Depot Lorilea is our Marketing Manager. She has a bachelor's degree in...