Spring selling season is here. But if you’re considering listing your property on the market, it’s important to know what you’re legally required to disclose, especially as there have been some small – but significant – amendments to the Sale of Land Act 1962 (Vic).

These amendments to section 12 came into play in March 2020 and require the vendor to disclose any ‘material facts’ relevant to the property of which they are knowingly aware.

What’s a material fact?

Material facts are any information that would be important to a potential purchaser in deciding whether or not to buy the land or to buy it at a certain price.

According to Consumer Affairs Victoria, material facts include property issues such as:

  • Structural defects
  • Infestations
  • Contamination or dangerous materials present on the property (such as asbestos or combustible cladding
  • Causes of obvious defects, or risks of future defects, that are not immediately apparent (such as underground tree roots or defective stumping)
  • A significant event has occurred at the property, including a flood or bushfire
  • Illegal or non-compliant building work
  • History of pesticide use or whether the property has been used for other horticulture or agriculture uses
  • Any restrictions on vehicle access
  • Facts about the surrounding neighbourhood that may affect the use and enjoyment of the property to a greater extent than ordinary properties in the area (such as significant development proposals nearby)
  • If the property has been at a scene of a serious crime such as extreme violence or murder
  • Whether the property has been used for the manufacture of substances such as methamphetamines
  • If the property was a training site for defence or the fire brigade using hazardous materials

The maximum penalty for knowingly concealing a material fact when selling land is a fine of over $19,000 (120 penalty units) or up to 12 months’ imprisonment.

Freya Southwell is a property lawyer and principal of Sutton Laurence King Lawyers.

Need expert advice on property law in Victoria? Contact Sutton Laurence King Lawyers today on 03 9070 9810 or  for help.