Storms a risk at sale time
The winter months in Perth are usually cold and wet and this year has been no exception.
There have been many days where the city has copped a soaking along with strong winds and icy mornings.
These conditions can cause damage to properties, fences, gardens and trees.
Depending on the severity of the damage, most homeowners can repair or tidy up themselves.
However, what happens if you’re a property owner in the process of selling your home?
How to deal with the situation
If you’ve recently sold your property and it’s currently under contract when the storm damage is caused, Clause 8 of the Joint Form of General Conditions relating to “Risk” comes into play.
If the property becomes uninhabitable or any other building or improvement is rendered unusable compared to as at the contract date the seller is required, under clause 8.3, to give notice to the buyer to that effect.
There are additional contractual elements to this, fortunately rare, occurrence and legal advice is often necessary to ensure both parties to the contract understand their rights and obligations.
If the damage is minor, the seller would refer to Clause 9.1(e) of the Joint Form of General Conditions whereby it’s warranted that the property at settlement will be in the same state and condition it was in immediately before the contract date.
Where a fence has been significantly damaged during the contract period, the owner, along with the neighbour, are required to repair or replace the fence within a reasonable time.
Let’s hope you don’t find yourself in this situation this winter. Hayden Groves is the president of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia.