What is a Section 32 Vendor’s Statement?
What is a Section 32 statement? “Section 32” is a common term used today. You will often hear it used in real estate transactions. It is sometimes also referred to as a Vendor’s Statement.
But what exactly is a Section 32? Where does it come from? And why is it so important?
If you are thinking about buying a house, you will notice that generally, a contract for sale of land is given to you by the real estate agent. Furthermore, you will more often than not have a Section 32 Vendors Statement attached. It is very important for you as a prospective purchaser to understand what is in the Section 32 Vendors Statement, as it contains information relating to the property you are about to buy.
If you don’t receive a Section 32 Vendor’s Statement when a contract for sale of land is given to you, get professional help immediately as you will not have been given some very important information relating to the property you are about to buy. But let’s head back to the topic.
What is Section 32?
The term “Section 32” actually comes from a piece of legislation called the Sale of Land Act 1962 (Vic) (“Act”). This Act prescribes information that must be disclosed to prospective purchasers of property. Part of this is a list of disclosures required under section 32 of the Act. This is important because these disclosures affect you as the prospective purchaser of the property that you are about to buy.
For example, the disclosures may include:
- Financial matters 
- Insurance details 
- Notices 
- Building permits 
- Owners Corporation 
- Growth Area Infrastructure Contribution Details 
- Non-connected services 
- Evidence of Title 
It is a requirement that the vendor also sign the Section 32 Vendors Statement when the disclosures are provided to you, and these disclosures should be made to you before you sign the contract to buy the property What you do not want to happen is to sign a contract to buy property and then find out there are many problems associated with the property that you weren’t aware of.
So why is a Section 32 Statement important?
The Section 32 Vendor’s Statement should provide you with prescribed Information of what is affecting the land.
These details can include:
- who your Council is?
- what are the arrears on rates, if any?
- does the property have services such as gas, electricity or water?
- has there been any building permits issued for the past 7 years?
- whether there are any government notices like compulsory land acquisitions that you should be aware of?
- easements that you should know about before purchasing?
- any leases or licences that should be brought to your attention?
These questions are important. Let’s give a few examples of why it is so.
You might come to an inspection of a property and see a nice comfy bungalow in the back yard.
But what you may not know is that the bungalow was built 5 years ago without a building permit. Imagine if the Council came and found out the bungalow was illegally erect in your backyard and asks you to remove it? Sounds like a nightmare already.
Or, imagine the land is leased and you never knew about that, but you’ve already paid the vendor the purchase price of the land. You may not be able to evict the tenant because of the lease but you already have removalists booked to move you into the new home, and worse still nowhere to live.
What should I do moving forwards?
The decision to purchase a new home is significant. For most people it’s the most expensive decision they will make. It is important that as a prospective purchaser you:
- check the contract to make sure that it has a Section 32 Statement signed by the Vendor
- consult a Property Lawyer to review the Section 32 Statement and the contract
It is always best to have the contract of sale for land reviewed by a lawyer before committing to buy the property.
How can DSA Law help?
 Sale of Land Act 1962 (Vic) s 32. For general information, see Consumer Affairs Victoria, Conveyancing and Contracts for Sellers (15 December 2019) <https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/housing/buying-and-selling-property/selling-property/conveyancing-and-contracts-for-sellers>.