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Seller's Obligations of Disclosure

When selling your property, there are requirements for what you must disclose to the buyer before entering into the contract. This disclosure provides the buyer with important information about the property so they may make an informed decision when placing an offer or signing the contract. The information to be passed on to the buyer can vary depending on the property but is mostly quite consistent from contract to contract. If proper disclosure is not completed, there may be penalties for failure to comply with the contract’s standard conditions and the buyer may be able to terminate the contract or recover compensation from you. 

If your property has a pool, you must provide the potential buyer with a current pool safety certificate. If you do not have a current pool safety certificate, you must provide a notice of no pool safety certificate to the buyer before settlement occurs. 

If your property has any encumbrances, these must also be disclosed to the buyer. Encumbrances are claims on or over the property by a third party. They can impact the ability for the property’s ownership to be transferred to the buyer or restrict the property’s free use until it has been lifted.

Common encumbrances are mortgages and easements. Mortgages can be discharged as part of the settlement, which will lift the claim of the mortgaging bank. For more information on this process, head over to our article on Discharging Mortgages When Selling.

Easements are sections of the property that allow a third party access including the local council, neighbors or government bodies. Each easement is named on the title of the property and will describe what its use is. 

Other pieces of disclosure can include:

  • Whether the property has compliant smoke alarms installed.

  • Whether an approved electrical safety switch is installed.

  • A clearance certificate from the Australian Taxation Office.

If your property is a townhouse or unit you will also need to provide the buyer with information about the body corporate.

Each property is different and will have its own items for disclosure. Engaging a solicitor for your property sale is important as we can help ensure these requirements, as well as others, are completed.

Author: Beth Wellings

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