When you’re selling a property, the paperwork can fly like crazy. It can be easy to get lost in it all, and if you don’t tick all the boxes, it can cost you money, and even time in court to set everything straight. In this post, we share the crucial things you as a seller – specifically for units – need to disclose when you put your Australian property on the market.

There are a variety of specific requirements in relation to what a seller must disclose prior to a strata property sale, depending on which state your property is located in. While you’ll need to further explore the requirements for the state you’re selling in, there are a few commonalities across all of them that will help you set off in the right direction.

Preparing your disclosure statement

The first thing you’ll need to do is let your agent know the basic disclosure statement for your unit. This is a relatively standard document that details aspects of the title you are selling, and should include:

  • details of the full levies the lot owner is responsible for in the current financial year, such as insurance, sinking funds, body corporate fees, Exclusive Use clauses, and so on.
  • the name, address and phone number of the Body Corporate Secretary, and the Body Corporate Administrator (if there is one)
  • details of any common property improvements the owner will be responsible for
  • any body corporate assets, as recorded on the register the body corporate maintains.

Tell the unit’s story

If you want to make sure you get a clean and easy sale, there are a few other things you need to put in writing as well, such as elements of the unit’s history. This can be a grey area, and really depends on how you and your agent interpret which aspects of the unit’s history will have a material impact on its value.

If you know your unit has a chequered past – for instance, if a murder had occurred there, a drug dealer had been living there, or there had been any unsavoury or illegal goings on at some point in the past – it’s important you disclose this. Remember, your agent is in your corner, so it’s best to come clean with them straight away so they can help you manage the situation.

If you or your agent aren’t completely sure of what to disclose, REIQ warns it’s best to err on the side of caution. If the buyer finds out after the sale, you and your agent could be charged for breaching consumer protection laws (as was the case for a Sydney property in 2004).

Clarify legal issues

If there are any still current disputes or legal issues around the property, you must disclose them. These can encompass things like pending tribunal hearings or cases around issues like overhanging or cross-border greenery, shared street parking spaces or fencing.

Similarly, if your property still has issues around council approvals hanging over it, you’ll definitely need to disclose them as well. For example, if an existing structural aspect of the property hasn’t been approved or is still pending, you must include it as part of the seller’s statement. This scenario is comparatively rare for units as it’s part of the strata manager’s role to ensure against.

While in most state jurisdictions, it’s usually a legal requirement to disclose these kinds of insights into your property, much of it comes down to basic ethics, and common sense. Apart from ensuring you’re meeting the letter of the law in your unit’s jurisdiction, all you really need to ask yourself is, “What would I need to know if I was buying this place?” Your answer will probably give you most of what you need to put into your disclosure statement.

The risk of prosecution hangs over such transactions, and is not uncommon, so you really want to make sure you know your obligations and rights and have all the boxes ticked.

Full disclosure

Property is our passion at Resale Australia. Whether you’re based interstate or overseas, we’re your team on the ground, watching out for your interests and giving you peace of mind. We have decades of experience here in Australia, and overseas, and we’re well aware of the requirements when it comes to selling, in every Australian State. We’ll represent your interests here, and appoint and liaise with the agent and on your behalf – at no extra cost to you.

About Russell Cotton

I love the property sector and have over 20 years’ experience in Australia and international markets working with Australia’s premier developers in property sales. I set up Resale Australia to help our internationally based vendors achieve maximum sales prices for their Australian properties.

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