Consumer protections – sale of agricultural land
The sale of agricultural land now requires disclosure of any government- or public authority-issued notices, property management plans, reports, or orders in relation to livestock disease or contamination by agriculture chemicals affecting ongoing use of land for agricultural purposes.
This replaces the warning on the first page of the Vendor’s Statement advising purchasers of agricultural land that they should make their own inquiries and investigations.
- A planning overlay must now be specified – this is usually satisfied by including a Planning Certificate in the Vendor’s Statement.
- Services (e.g. gas, electricity, water and phone) not connected at the day of sale must be disclosed – previously it was the reverse.
- All notices directly affecting the land ‘directly and currently’ – for example planning scheme changes, road widening works, contamination – must be included in the Vendor’s Statement. Previously all notices received and known to the vendor had to be disclosed. It’s not a big change, but it means historical notices or notices that are irrelevant to the property may not need to be included.
Vendor Statements – consequences of failing to comply with section 32 of the Act
The purchaser has a right to rescind the contract at any time prior to settlement where the vendor has not acted honestly or reasonably and the purchaser is not in the same position as if section 32 had been complied with. This includes if a vendor fails to provide a Vendor’s Statement before signing the contract or provides false or insufficient information.
Penalties have increased from 50 penalty units to 300 penalty units (or $44,283*) and 60 penalty units for individual vendors ($8,856.6*) for recklessly or knowingly supplying false or insufficient information in the Vendor’s Statement.
Vendor’s Statements signed and dated before 1 October 2014 can be used in the old format, but new requirements will apply where a property is withdrawn from sale and later re-marketed.
*Calculations based on current penalty unit of $147.61.