A Section 32 statement is an essential legal document provided by the seller of a property (vendor) to the intended buyer. This document outlines all the information about the property the seller is required, by law, to provide to the buyer. It must include all information regarding the state of the property, especially where that information may affect the decision of the buyer.
The name of the document comes from the legislation that governs the vendor statement, Section 32 of the Sale of Land Act which is an act of the Victorian parliament. The statement should not be confused with the contract of sale.
Section 32 Disclosure Requirements
A Section 32 statement is made up of a number of different documents disclosing all matters relating to the property that the buyer must be aware of, such as:
- Vendor’s details: Contact number, address and other particulars of the seller.
- Title document: Proof the seller legally owns the property and has the authority to sell it. The title also includes details of the property itself, as well as other charges and restrictions on the land.
- Mortgages or other charges: Shows debts and liabilities over the property such as a mortgage or outstanding rates.
- Covenants, easements or restrictions on the land: Covenants refer to certain things that the land cannot be used for, such as building guidelines that the owner needs to comply with, while easements refer to a thoroughfare that is available to the public or certain parties.
- Owner-builder warranty insurance: Where the liability of the owner passes onto the buyer before settlement, it is important to ensure the owner-builder warranty insurance is also provided.
- Zoning certificate: Shows the buyer what the property can be used for, e.g., residential or commercial.
- Material fact disclosure: a material fact is a fact which would be important to a potential buyer in deciding whether to buy the property. Examples are where prior tests or investigations have revealed (or the vendor or agent otherwise knows of) a defect in the structure of the building, a termite infestation, combustible cladding, asbestos (including loose-fill asbestos insulation) or contamination through prior uses.
If the property is an apartment or unit, you must include the Owners Corporation Certificate, so the buyer knows if the Corporation is in deficit or surplus, as well as understanding the fees and charges associated with the maintenance of the complex. The Certificate will also give details of any restrictions, such as whether pets are allowed, and any legal matters affecting the property.
Who Prepares a Section 32 Statement?
The legislation outlines a comprehensive list of documents that must be provided in the Section 32 statement by the vendor. A lawyer can assist in compiling or reviewing the Section 32 statement. Since it’s a legal document, a Section 32 statement should be prepared by a qualified lawyer or conveyancer on behalf of the seller, prior to signing the contract of sale.
Do all Property Vendors Need to Provide a Section 32?
For any property that goes to market in Victoria, whether in Melbourne or a rural area, a Section 32 statement must accompany the contract of sale. The document is separate and should be provided in addition to the contract of sale.
Once prepared, the vendor needs to sign the document before providing it to the buyer. Some real estate agents may also require the buyer to sign the Section 32 statement as proof that the statement was in fact provided to them.
Contact Our Property Lawyers for a Section 32 Victoria
For a Section 32 Statement that vendors and homebuyers can rely on, contact the team at McNab McNab & Starke. Our team of property lawyers and conveyancers can help draft a Section 32 statement, as well as assist with any other property related legal matters.
Contact us today by calling us on 03 9670 9691 or using our online contact form.