Notices When Selling Real Estate

Whether buying or selling real estate, it is important for any buyer or seller to understand how notices play a part in a real estate transaction. Notices when selling real estate are a must and understanding why is just as important. 

What is a Notice? 

Pursuant to s32D of the Sale of Land Act, a notice, order, declaration, report or recommendation from a public authority (ie VicRoads) or a government authority (ie Local Council) must be disclosed where it is made in respect of the land or it directly affects the land.

Examples of Notices

Some examples of notices that an owner can receive are as follows;

  • Special Levy Notice
  • Fencing Notice
  • Planning Permit for the Land
  • Pool Notice

What is not a notice

  • Oral Notification of any of the above (ie your neighbour tells you of their intention to fence but does serve a notice on you.

Whose responsibility?

Before Sale:

If a notice is received by the vendor before the sale of the property, it should be included in the s32 Statement (Vendor Statement). The responsibility for the notice will depend on what is contained in the notice and when it is due by. For example, if the Notice states that it is not required to be attended for another two years, if that occurs after the settlement date, the obligation would pass to the Purchaser.

After a Contract of Sale is signed:

Where a Contract of Sale has been signed and settlement has not taken place but a notice is received by the Vendor, the obligations of the notice then pass on to the purchaser as they are the equitable owner of the property. An example of this would be a special levy notice from an owners corporation. We therefore would recommend anybody looking to purchase a property within an owners corporation to read the minutes of the most recent AGM to be aware of any proposed special levy.

The date of the notice is all important. If the notice is dated before the contract, the seller bears responsibility for implementing the notice. If the notice is dated after the date of the Contract, the purchaser bears responsibility.

It is important if you are the vendor that you pass on to the purchaser this notice promptly so that purchaser is able to comply with the notice within time.

Special Note on Swimming Pools and Spas

As of 1 December 2019, new laws in Victoria came into effect that dealt with swimming pool and spa safety.

Owners of pools and spas were required to do the following;

  1. Register your pool with your local council by 1 November 2020
  2. Organise an inspection of your pool barrier by a registered swimming pool inspector;
  3. Rectify any issues identified by your pool inspection;
  4. Submit a certificate of compliance to your council by the due date.

If you received such a notice or obtain the certificate contained in No.4, it should be disclosed when selling the property.

Tips to take away;

  • If you have received a notice, it is best to disclose rather than not disclose;
  • If you receive a notice as vendor after a contract of sale is signed, pass it on promptly to the purchaser;
  • When buying properties subject to an owners corporation, read the AGM minutes included in the vendor statement so that you are aware on any potential special levies that may yet have been struck.
  • Properties with pools, disclose any notes and if you are selling, and include a special condition that deals with it.

Should you have any further queries about the obligations regarding notices, please get in Contact with me.

Chris Henderson

Chris Henderson

At Phillips & Wilkins, Chris practices in the areas of Property Law, Conveyancing and Family Law. Chris has grown up in the Northern Suburbs and continues to be a part of the local community as being a member of the Old Paradians Amateur Football Club and the Mill Park Cricket Club. Learn more about Chris' legal experience.