I have purchased a property which I have discovered to have a pergola at the rear of the property which has not had council approval. Can I avoid the contract?
No, as a purchaser you may not avoid the contract unless a notice was served on the vendor prior to the date of the contract. Any notice served after the date of the contract will be the purchasers responsibility.
During the course of the contract the vendor asked the purchaser for an earlier settlement date. The purchaser agreed. The purchaser was unable to complete settlement on this earlier settlement date, but was able to complete settlement before the original date fixed for settlement. Is the purchaser obliged to pay penalty interest?
Yes, where an earlier or later date is agreed between the parties and confirmed, then that date becomes the settlement date and failure to settle on that date constitutes a breach of contract.
Removal of Chattels prior to settlement
At a final inspection it has been discovered that the light fittings which were included as chattels in the Contract of Sale have been removed. Can a purchaser deduct the estimated cost of replacement from the settlement proceeds?
General Condition 24.2 of the Contract of Sale requires the vendor to deliver the property and chattels in the same condition as when the contract was signed, fair wear and tear excepted. Nevertheless, this does not entitle the purchaser to make a deduction at settlement, as the condition specifically states that failure to deliver the chattels creates a right to compensation only. Morally however it may be argued that a vendor should negotiate a deduction of an agreed amount at settlemnet, bu if that is not agreed, a purchaser may only sue for compensation after settlement.
* Law Institute of Victoria Diary 2005. Any information contained herein should not be relied upon and you should always obtain your own legal advice.