Victoria’s Section 32 Statements – Tread Warily In This Conveyancing Minefield

Posted on May 19, 2008 by | 7 Comments

Consumer Warning!

by Tim O’Dwyer M.A., LL.B
Consumer Advocate


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:Section 32 - Conveyancing Minefield!

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…


More about “Victoria’s Section 32 Statements – Tread Warily In This Conveyancing Minefield”…




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  • I think vendors and agents should only start advertising and showing people through the property when they have the s32 in hand.. I have had many situations when they section 32 was only available a day or 2 before the auction or before the agent was insisting it had to be sold, meaning very little time to perform my own due diligence or get legal advice on the section 32.

  • Austin says:

    Peter, random person is right – is there anything legally that can be done when the agent holds off the release of the Sec. 32 for as long as possible? I have also had this experience for as long as I can remember.

  • As a legal practitioner I know that estate agents cause a lot of problems with their demands for sale documents. The Law Institute of Victoria was forced to go to the trouble of writing an article about it some time ago, and it can be downloaded from our Downloads section (See “Quick Section 32” at )

    Estate agents tend to expect everyone to do things to their timetable. It is typical for the estate agent to advertise an auction or private sale, and then enquire as to whether the vendor has arranged for the sale documents to be prepared. The estate agent then hassles the vendor to have the solicitor or conveyancer prepared a “quick” or “short form” Section 32, which can have disastrous consequences.

    We recently received a Contract Note completed by and estate agent with a very scant Section 32 attached, and then discovered that one of the vendors was deceased. No wonder the vendor’s signature did not appear on the Contract Note!

    My personal view is that estate agents should have no role whatsoever with sale documents.

  • Austin says:

    Thanks for the response, Peter. But again, is there anything that we can do legally as buyers, or, like you say, do we have to run to the agents timetable?

  • Generally, there is nothing a consumer can do. Having said this, there are strategies that can be used in particular circumstances. These include by-passing the estate agent and dealing with the vendor or their representative. But relationships between some lawyers/conveyancers and estate agents can still come into play (search Richard Wood Solicitors on this blog and you’ll see what I mean).

    If anyone needs assistance in such a situation I can be emailed direct.

  • Steve says:

    I’ve just been dudded with an agent giving me a s.32. On the morning of us offering and accepting the contract of sale, the agent had provided us with a different s.32 which had a vendors statement not previously mentioned nor the agent advising us this was a different s.32 they had sent to us. So that was a terrible lesso learnt. Trying to work out how to mitigate that vendor’s statement now. What was meant to be a happy time for our first home purchase is causing a headache

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