by Tim O’Dwyer M.A., LL.B
Victoria’s solicitors have been informed by their Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee (“LPLC”) that their mishandling of property conveyancing is one of the most costly sources of clients’ negligence claims. Whether acting for vendors or purchasers, conveyancing solicitors have been warned to be especially careful regarding Section 32 Statements.
Section 32 of Victoria’s Sale of Land Act 1962 requires vendors of real estate, before contracts are signed, to give purchasers a signed statement containing prescribed information and three warnings.
The first warning is:
The use to which you propose to put the property may be prohibited by planning or building controls … or may require the consent or permit of the municipal council or other responsible authority. It is in your interest to undertake a proper investigation of permitted land use before you commit yourself to buy.
Perhaps because Victoria is known as the “Garden State”, the second warning is:
The property may be located … where commercial agricultural production activity may affect your enjoyment of the property. It is therefore in your interest to undertake an investigation of the possible amenity and other impacts from nearby properties and agricultural practices and processes conducted there.
The third warning is shortest:
You should check with the appropriate authorities as to the availability (and cost) of providing any essential services not connected to the property.
Depending on the type of property sold, the Statement must include…