As mentioned, statutory provisions have now been made to protect consumers from unscrupulous real estate developers and property spruikers.
The two primary statutory provisions are prohibitions on:
In the absence of misleading, deceptive or unconscionable conduct, the onus falls on purchasers to ensure that they receive good title. Purchasers should always check that the physical boundaries of the land accord with those that are specified on the title. If the land is easily accessible, a purchaser can do this simply by running a tape measure over the boundaries. However, if there is any doubt or the property is quite large, it would be advisable to engage a surveyor to check the boundaries.
Apart from the particular disclosure requirements contained in each jurisdiction, a vendor is only obliged to draw a purchaser’s attention to latent defects, that is, defects that an ordinary inspection would not uncover.
Purchasers do have some further protection under the Australian Competition and Consumer Act (Commonwealth) and any remaining Fair Trading Acts in states or territories). As mentioned earlier, the advent of the Australian Competition and Consumer Act (Commonwealth) largely superseded most state and territory legislation. These Acts prohibit unconscionable, misleading and deceptive conduct in trade and commerce, but they only apply to vendors selling commercial or investment properties. The Acts do not apply to vendors selling their primary place of residence.