Conveyancing Reminder About Pre-Settlement Property Inspections

When you purchase a property in NSW, you are entitled to make one pre-settlement inspection of the property. This right arises under the Contract for the Sale of Land. This means that just prior to title being transferred and completion of the entire transaction, you can attend upon the property to ensure that everything that is supposed to be there remains and that vacant possession has been granted (unless the contract stipulates the sale is subject to an existing tanancy).

We would like to remind purchasers of real property to contact the real estate agent handling the sale and make an appointment to inspect the subject property on the day before or morning of the settlement. We suggest that you make this inspection as close to the completion date as possible and report back to your solicitor or conveyancer about your observations.

The seller must give you vacant possession on the date of completion and must take away all possessions not included in your purchase and all rubbish. If you proceed to settlement and the property is still occupied by a tenant that wasn’t disclosed in the contract, it will cause you great difficulty in dealing with the issue post-settlement. As a purchaser, you have much more power and control over what the vendor is obligated to do, prior to settlement.

A seller is obliged to keep the property reasonably preserved, given its condition on exchange of contracts, but allowing for fair wear and tear (that is, the deterioration of the property due to both reasonable use and ordinary operation of natural forces). If the property is not in  reasonable condition on final inspection, then you can refuse to settle the transaction until the issue is resolved. You should howeever obtain legal advice before taking that step. Alternatively, you can agree that the agent hold part of the deposit monies and release those funds to the vendor only once the issue has been resolved. This will provide security for the performance of the vendor’s obligations to repair, replace or make good.

In the event that you neglect to inspect the property and later discover that some fixture, device or appliance is defective or completely missing, it will be much more difficult to recover your losses under the contract once the vendor has drifted off into the sunset (so to speak).

For initial free legal advice regarding your next conveyance, feel free to contact Parramatta City Legal Pty Ltd to make an appointment.