What is a Section 32 statement and what should you be aware of?
Whether you’re buying or selling a house, you’ll want to familiarise yourself with the Section 32 statement.
In the course of any property transaction, whether you’re the buyer or the seller, you’ll come across a document known as a Section 32. This document, also known as a Vendor’s Statement, is provided by the seller and must be given to the property buyer. It contains information about the land being sold and the property title.
What is a Section 32?
A Section 32, or Vendor’s Statement, is a document that discloses any information that could affect the land being sold in a property transaction. The document ultimately serves to disclose to the buyer information that could impact their decision to purchase the property.
The Section 32 contains information about the land and the title of the property being sold. It provides the buyer with information that wouldn’t be readily obtainable by inspecting the property. Below are seven pieces of information usually disclosed in a Section 32 statement:
A Section 32 must contain information about how the land is zoned and how the local council will allow it to be used. This is vital information for buyers, as it will define whether the land is available for residential, commercial or mixed-use purposes.
This provides information on the rates payable on the land. Sellers are not required to give an itemised breakdown of any outgoings, but must provide an overall figure.
A Section 32 must include a Certificate of Title, which will give a detailed description of the property being sold and verify that the vendor has the right to sell the land.
4. Land use
The document must also disclose any easements, covenants or restrictions on land use. An easement is a right for the use of the land by a third party. For example, the council may have an easement for the use of a drainage or sewerage pipe. A covenant is a restriction on how the land may be used. For example, a covenant may state that the owner promises not to construct more than one dwelling on the land. The Section 32 also must disclose if the land has road access.
5. Bushfire danger
The Section 32 must disclose whether the land is in a bushfire-prone area.
6. Building permits
The Section 32 must disclose the particulars of any building permits issued within the last seven years.
A Section 32 must make buyers aware of any approved public authority or government proposals that could affect the land.
Who needs a Section 32?
The Section 32 is provided by the vendor to the purchaser in a property transaction. The vendor must provide a Section 32 in order for the transaction to reach settlement.
For sellers, it’s important to ensure that the Section 32 provided to the buyer is a full and accurate representation of everything affecting the land on which the property sits. Failure to disclose any of the information required in a Section 32 could see your property transaction fall apart. A buyer could take legal action against a vendor if the Section 32 is inaccurate or incomplete.
For buyers, it’s important to pay close attention to all the details disclosed in the Section 32. This will ensure that the property you’re buying meets your needs and that you won’t be in for any unwelcome surprises regarding the land on which your property sits.
What’s not in a Section 32?
Almost as important as the information that must be included in a Section 32 is the information that’s not included.
A Section 32 does not have to disclose anything about the condition of the building or buildings on the land. While it does have to disclose any services that aren’t connected, such as water, gas or electricity, it doesn’t have to provide information about whether those services are available. If you’re a buyer, you’ll want to do your own research into the areas not covered by a Section 32.
How do I obtain a Section 32?
A Section 32 is usually prepared by a conveyancer or solicitor. If you are a buyer, the completed Section 32 will be provided to you by the seller. If you are the seller, a conveyancer or solicitor can complete the form for you. While there are DIY conveyancing kits available that include blank Section 32 documents, it’s often wise to have the document prepared by a professional.
Section 32 documents are extremely detailed and can be time-consuming to complete. Even a solicitor or conveyancer may take up to two weeks to complete a Section 32. This is because the searches required to find information about the land being sold can often take time. If you’re selling your house, you’ll want to enlist the aid of a conveyancer or solicitor to prepare the Section 32 well ahead of the time you expect to settle the transaction.
Frequently asked questions about Section 32 Statements
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