by Tim O’Dwyer M.A., LL.B
The Supreme Court of New South Wales recently ruled that the buyers of an off-the-plan property were entitled to a rescission of their contract and a deposit refund because the estate agent for the developer had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct. These inexperienced investor-buyers had relied on baseless representations in newspaper advertisements that the value of the inner city terrace units being marketed by the agent would double in five years.
A major law firm soon issued a media release suggesting that, in a falling market, off-the-plan buyers might try to get out of deals done years earlier by relying on pre-contractual mis-representations. Property developers and their agents were warned “to carefully check the wording of their advertisements or other representations” to make sure they were “based in fact”, while any statements regarding future value must have a “reasonable basis” with further information being provided to qualify those representations.
However when sellers’ agents get found out on their porkies, some buyers will still settle but later sue the lying agent.