ILN: BUYING AND SELLING REAL ESTATE - AN INTERNATIONAL GUIDE

[BUYING AND SELLING REAL ESTATE IN AUSTRALIA]

23

desired purpose. For example, is a permit required for the proposed use? In certain States, disclosure obligations will reveal the relevant zoning of a property, but full enquiries may be warranted. Property Inspections A physical inspection of the property by the purchaser is important. They may include expert building inspections and pest and termite inspections. A purchaser should check that the improvements on the property are sound and compliant with the applicable building legislation. A contract of sale will often include an acknowledgement that the purchaser accepts the condition of the property as at the day of sale. It is equally common that the vendor need only deliver the property at settlement in the condition it was in on the day of sale. A contract can be conditional on the purchaser obtaining a satisfactory pest/termite inspection and if not satisfactory, then the purchaser can terminate the contract. Survey Purchasers should check the title boundaries of the property. Are all fences and improvements erected within the title boundaries of the property? If not, there could be issues in the future if the owner of a neighbouring property seeks to enforce its rights. The principle of adverse possession means that a person may claim land by long usage. The requirements for adverse possession claims vary from State to State. However, adverse possession claims are not part of the land law in the Northern Territory or the Australian Capital Territory. Services As the vendor disclosure regimes vary from each State and Territory, it is important that a purchaser is satisfied with the level and quality of the services (i.e., water, sewerage, electricity, and gas) at the property. Do they exist? What is

the state and condition of the services at the property? A failure to check for services could result in a purchaser incurring substantial cost if they need to be installed to the property and connected. Environmental Checks Each State and Territory has its own regime for dealing with contaminated land. Generally, the person who causes the contamination is responsible. However, if that person no longer owns the land, or cannot be found, then the relevant authorities may require the owner of the land to deal with any contamination issues. It is important for purchasers to check the environmental condition of the property, especially if they have a particular use in mind or the property may be contaminated. Although this is less of an issue for existing residential land, it is a relevant consideration for industrial or commercial sites. If the land is contaminated, certain uses may be prohibited by the relevant planning regime, unless certain requirements are met (e.g., remediation of the land). If a purchaser is looking to use the property sensitively (e.g., residential or childcare), it is essential that the purchaser is satisfied with the environmental condition of the property. It is common in contracts of sale for a vendor to sell a property in its current condition and subject to any contamination. A vendor will seek a release and indemnity from a purchaser in respect of any claims, which may arise from contamination. If a vendor has a contamination report, the report will often be disclosed to the purchaser and the purchaser will be expected to purchase the property subject to that report. Finance If a purchaser requires finance to purchase the property, then the contract can be made conditional on finance being obtained.

ILN Real Estate Group – Buying and Selling Real Estate Series

Made with FlippingBook Online newsletter