A vendor statement – also known as a section 32 – is a document that the vendor must provide to all prospective purchasers prior to sale.
It discloses information that’s not readily found during an inspection and, as it may impact a buyer’s decision to sign the contract of sale, it is legally required to be supplied before the contract of sale is signed by either party.
What is covered in a section 32?
The section 32 vendor statement, as the name suggests, is set out in section 32 of the Sale of Land Act 1962 (VIC).
The possible list of matters to be disclosed in a vendor statement are outlined from section 32A to section 32P.
A vendor statement typically covers information such as the certificate of title, mortgages, covenants, easements, building permits, zonings or whether the property is in a bushfire-prone area.
Evidence of title
A vendor statement must include evidence of title, to verify that the seller legally owns the property and has the authority to sell it.
Mortgages, charges and other rates
It must show the debts and liabilities over the property – including any particulars of the mortgages, charges and the amount of any rates affecting the land.
A covenant refers to a legal restriction that may be imposed upon on the land. For example, there may be a covenant that prevents an owner from subdividing.
An easement is a right held by someone, other than the owner, to use and the land. For example, for drainage or pipes.
The Section 32 must disclose the details surrounding any building permits issued within the last seven years.
A Section 32 must contain information about how the land is zoned. This lets buyers know whether it’s available for residential, commercial or mixed-use purposes.
The vendor statement must disclose whether the land is in a bushfire-prone area.
What isn’t covered in a section 32?
Under legislation, while the vendor is required to disclose a number of items as part of the section 32 vendor statement, there are certain things they do not have to disclose. This may include disclosing anything about the condition of the property, a building report or pest inspection. A buyer should consult their conveyancer and undertake their own research into the areas not covered by a Section 32, such as conducting an independent building and pest inspection by a certified building inspector.
Reviewing a vendor statement
As a buyer, it’s important to have your legal practitioner or conveyancer review the section 32 statement prior to purchase.
This will ensure you’re fully aware of all aspects of the property, so there are no surprises and the settlement process runs smoothly.
Conveyancers are able to check thoroughly what is in the section 32, and what may be missing.