Terminating under building and pest

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by ostrich98, 24th Apr, 2020.

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  1. ostrich98

    ostrich98 Well-Known Member

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    Hi guys, just need advice on this -

    we made an offer to a property in Vic subject to building and pest (private treaty sale)

    Had the building inspector in on Tuesday to check that and got the report back the next day. Found some MAJOR issues including water leak through the roof/ceiling and the footing/restumping. There were many other major issues but these 2 are the most prominent ones. We asked our conveyancer if we could get out of this based of the report and she said only if the inspector writes a letter/report saying the house has “major building defects”...

    however on the report the inspector has already detailed “Major defects/major structural defects” ... are they any different? The conveyancer is very confident that they are different and would not contact the vendor’s solicitor unless we get a letter from a licensed inspector saying that the house has “major building defects”

    we asked the inspector for a ballpark figure for the roof/ceiling - he said at least $30k. When asked about the foundation/restumping he said they were not done as per Australian standards and he would challenge the vendor to present a warranty/certificate because in his opinion the house is still moving/settling. He said it would cost > $100k to redo the foundation and he would not recommend buying without the certificates.

    Now I could not get my conveyancer convinced that they are major “building issues” with the house; and the inspector believed that the report was true and correct. He rated this home as “below average/poor quality”
    What is your advice?

    attached part of the report detailing major issues
     

    Attached Files:

  2. ostrich98

    ostrich98 Well-Known Member

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    Hi Trainee, thank you for your feedback and reply again.

    we are very new to this and we noticed some spots/dents on the ceiling which the vendor painted over with new paint. We did check with the vendor and they said “it has been like this since we bought this 10 years ago”
    “We painted the ceiling because we were doing renovation but decided to sell ...”

    I was not expecting a perfect home. But I certainly would not want a house with ceiling that could potentially collapse unless I spend $30k fixing it and a house that requires new stumps
     
  3. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    I cannot see why the wording would need to be changed. It sounds fairly clear as it is written by the building inspector.

    I'd suggest getting a lawyer rather than a conveyancer.
     
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  4. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    A wavy ceiling is not necessarily a big deal - and can be common in older houses. But if the report says it’s in danger of collapsing that is an issue.

    Restumping requires a permit. Council will have a record of this

    It’s hard to say how serious the leak is or how much it might cost to fix - needs a quote.

    If you can’t get out of the purchase through the building clause, then just excercise your right to ‘cool off’.
     
  5. Terry_w

    Terry_w Lawyer, Tax Adviser and Mortgage broker in Sydney Business Plus Member

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    Instruct your conveyancer to follow your wishes or sack them - better off getting a new one by the sounds of it.
     
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  6. ostrich98

    ostrich98 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. I would look into this on Monday (time is running out though). If you know if any good lawyer in Vic could you please PM me


    could not get out under “cooling off” as it expired on Monday. We signed the contract on Thursday and I thought the cooling off expired on Tuesday only to be told by my conveyancer that it was Monday (Thursday will be counted as part of the 3 days)

    They only replaced one of the stumps so I’m not sure about the permit. The inspector just asked us to check with the vendor about warranty/certificate and said to us that very likely they wouldn’t have it because it was in such poor shape
     
  7. ostrich98

    ostrich98 Well-Known Member

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    thanks Terry for your comment again.

    when I asked she said she was following what it’s written on the contract and she could not do it otherwise ...

    Attached the standard contract we signed in Vic
     

    Attached Files:

  8. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm in Queensland so don't have any contacts in Victoria. But perhaps someone else could give you contact details of a lawyer. It seems very strange that the wording from the building inspector is not enough for your conveyancer to do what you are instructing them to (as per Terry's post above - he's a lawyer so knows what he's talking about).
     
  9. Terry_w

    Terry_w Lawyer, Tax Adviser and Mortgage broker in Sydney Business Plus Member

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    The report appears to meet the requirement as major defects are listed.
     
  10. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    It’s 3 clear business days. So you should have had all of Friday, Monday and Tuesday. Buying property by private sale
     
    Last edited: 24th Apr, 2020
  11. ostrich98

    ostrich98 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys. This is reassuring

    I am no lawyer and this is our first purchase in Melbourne hence we have no prior knowledge whatsoever. I spent 15 mins on the phone with my conveyancer and she said the wording of “Major defects/major structural defects” are very different from “Major building defects” as per the contract signed. Building indicates the house on contract whereas defects or structural defects could indicate anything on the land ... I am confused :(
     
  12. Archaon

    Archaon Well-Known Member

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    I think the issue is there is no wording in the report that says major, only moderate from what I can see.

    Why would your conveyancer not bring this up prior to you signing the contract, who are they working for, you or the vendor...
     
  13. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    Can you get the building inspector to write a letter?

    For future reference - in Vic it’s a good idea to get the building inspection done in the cooling off period as it gives another option.
     
  14. Terry_w

    Terry_w Lawyer, Tax Adviser and Mortgage broker in Sydney Business Plus Member

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    well you have 4 choices
    a) convince the conveyancer to inform the vendor you are pulling out and see if their interpretation is the same as your conveyancer, or
    b) get a new conveyancers, or
    c) get the builder to change their report, or
    d) continue with the purchase

    I would instruct the conveyancer to notify the vendor myself.
     
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  15. Archaon

    Archaon Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, if the Vendor needs further clarification then you can ask the building inspector to write a report/letter.
     
  16. money

    money Well-Known Member

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    To me that would mean the exact same thing, but I am no lawyer and know nothing about law.
     
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  17. ostrich98

    ostrich98 Well-Known Member

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    Lesson learnt and we will not be signing (if we could get out of this) any contracts without BnP prior


    We had instructed the conveyancer to terminate the contract based on this report which indicates “Major structural issues” and was told that it was “insufficient” to terminate because it was not “Major Building Defects” hence I was scratching my head :)
    Obviously the inspector was reluctant to change his wording on the report

    message well received. It is just annoying that we have to wait till Monday to follow up
     
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  18. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    I’m concerned that your conveyancer advised you incorrectly about the cooling off period. Did they do that in writing?
     
  19. Terry_w

    Terry_w Lawyer, Tax Adviser and Mortgage broker in Sydney Business Plus Member

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    Lawyers and conveyancers are 'slaves' of the client. You are paying them so you can direct them to do what you instruct (in relation to law!). They can say that what you are proposing is not correct, but they must do it anyway. (within reason)
     
  20. Paul@PFI

    [email protected] Tax Accounting + SMSF Business Plus Member

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    I would seek legal (not conveyancer)advice as a first issue. The P+b clause does not specify what defects allow termination. Defects that concern you are evident.