In brief

Does your property have “a history”? For example, was your property once the scene of a grisly crime or a meth house? If so, new changes to the law, effective from 1 March 2020, mean these and other unsavoury events and activities are the kinds of “material facts” that, by law, a vendor must now disclose.

What you need to know

An amendment to the Sale of Land Act (Vic), requiring Vendors to disclose “material facts” about a property, has taken effect from 1 March 2020.

Material facts are those facts that would be generally regarded to influence an average purchaser in deciding to buy a property or the price they pay for it. This includes whether a murder had occurred on the property, if the property had been used as a meth lab, or the existence of flammable cladding or asbestos

Background

While the Act previously operated to protect purchaser’s from misrepresentation of facts or the non-disclosure of facts about a property not reasonably discoverable, these latest amendments, make clearer and arguably expand the ambit of the types of material facts that must be volunteered by way of full and frank disclosure. This includes activity that has the potential to psychologically impact or stigmatise property.

Under the new changes, as soon as a prospective buyer indicates they are considering buying the property, the vendor or agent must disclose all known material facts and answer all questions about materials facts to the fullest extent possible.

Conclusion

Consumer Affairs Victoria are authorised by the Act to publish guidelines on what is meant by a material fact. The latest Material Fact Guidelines which include general examples of material facts about land may be accessed here.

About the Author

Bethany Visser

Associate
Bethany is a detail driven lawyer possessing experience working with a variety of different stakeholders in a number of areas of property and construction law.

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