A Section 32 (s32), or a Vendor’s Statement, is a key document required under the law in Victoria when selling a property. The best way to describe a Section 32 to non-Victorians is that it is like a car roadworthy, but for a house or land. It gets it’s name from the section of the Act, The Sale of Land ACT 1962 VIC (the Act) – Section 32.
The law in Victoria regulating the sale of real estate is unique to Victoria. The Section 32 is not required or used in other states of Australia.
The s32 is the legally required Vendor’s disclosure to the purchaser of the key details of the property. This can make the process of buying a house easier in some respects. A property buyer can easily see what they are getting, the rates and other outgoings should be clearly detailed.
But potential property buyers should be careful. If you don’t understand what is in the Section 32 or overlook something it can be at your cost.
Clients who have not understood what was in the Section 32 have signed contracts which disclose key information that has, sadly, been overlooked. This has cost them thousands to fix and it can cost you thousands. Especially if you miss information such as covenants and other restrictions. Doing due diligence correctly and understanding what you are committing to is essential with any financial commitment.
A Section 32 is required to contain information about the property such as the following:
The Vendor MUST properly disclose the relevant information about the property required by the Act. If the Section 32 is defective, or missing information, the purchaser has the right to rescind the Contract of Sale.
The vendor must also not provide false or incomplete information in the Vendor’s Statement. This can also lead to a purchaser rescinding the Contract.
So, it is very important that the conveyancer that prepares the Section 32 with the right information. It is also important as a vendor selling a property that you check the Vendors Statement carefully. After all, it is your statement.
Before you sign a Contract of Sale for a property you should be given a copy of the Section 32 signed by the Vendor. If the Vendor hasn’t signed the s32 before the Contract this can also make the Section 32 defective. The purchaser may have the right to rescind the contract based on this technical point.
The Section 32 is usually a part of the documents the Real Estate Agent gives you. It’s important to get contract advice so that you understand what is being disclosed and how it affects the property.
Many issues can often be clearly disclosed but overlooked by inexperienced home buyers. If you are looking to buy a property it can seem to slow down the process. However, given that it is a major financial investment, ensuring that the property doesn’t have issues can save you thousands.
When you are buying a house, your conveyancer can check the Section 32 in detail much faster and thoroughly than you can. We give in detail contract advice daily. As each property is different, we carefully review the Section 32 and advise you if there are any issues. We make sure you are aware of what you are buying.
Most home buyers look at the features of the home, but what you are ultimately buying is the land and improvements. We check the land details and what issues may be present.
Many home buyers overlook getting advice before buying a house and this can be a very costly mistake. If you are buying an apartment, there is the Owners Corporation to consider as well.
Home buyers wishing to develop or extend properties should pay particular attention to the boundaries and property dimensions. This is best done by a surveyor, however you can do this yourself. If you don’t check the property boundary and it is incorrect you may not be able to do what you wish with density limits, setbacks etc.
It is harder and more expensive to get out of a contract than to get into one, so get contract advice before you buy.
Yes, you can sign the Section 32 electronically. The Act specifically states this as below:
(1), a vendor may sign the statement to be given to a purchaser under this section by electronic signature.
It is important to get the right conveyancer to assist you when selling or buying a property. If you are the Vendor you will want to make sure that your conveyancer asks the right questions so you understand your legal obligations and make the right disclosure.
As a purchaser you don’t want to overlook key information and buy a dud property. Understanding what and how the information in a Section 32 affects the property is important. It does have financial consequences.
Our conveyancing lawyers have experience in handling complex property disputes and rescissions of Contracts. We help our clients avoid the common pitfalls and can defend their interests when an issue arises.
Contact one of our conveyancing team today if you need help buying a property, selling a property or assistance with a property dispute.
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.
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