Buyer beware – in NSW property transactions!

26 Nov 2015


  • Conveyancing

A recent NSW case1 has highlighted the importance of conducting careful due diligence for property transactions, especially when buying a rural property.

Your conveyancer will provide advice on the documents attached to the contract for sale. These include the “Section 149 environmental certificate”, a certificate issued by the local council which has information on a variety of matters including the types of developments allowed on the land, any contamination, orders from the council regarding the land and if the area is known as a bushfire risk area.

However the certificate may not have information on future proposed developments in the area. As a result, part of a buyer’s due diligence must include talking to the council and inspecting the council records to see what other proposed developments or activities are planned for the area. It is the buyer’s responsibility to consider what effect, if any, the proposed developments may have on the property in the future.

The Vendor through their solicitor will give a letter of authority to inspect the council records. If you are not able to inspect the books yourself, then you should instruct an experienced building inspector to do this on your behalf.

In addition, if you are able to, it is useful to talk to any of your future neighbours on adjacent properties, as they may have information on any present/future developments relating to the local area and any council updates.

For your peace of mind, and to avoid any surprises in future we strongly recommend that you take the steps that we have outlined above to ensure due diligence for property transactions.

Contact our Conveyancing team today for further information about buying a property in NSW.

1 Williamson v Carneys Lawyers (2015) NSWSC 1080