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LIV Contract of sale updated

LIV Contract of sale updated

By David P Lloyd, Murray McCutcheon AM and Robert Bradley

Conveyancing Real Property 


The 2019 edition of the LIV/REIV Contract of sale of land varies in many important respects from the Contract of Sale of Real Estate previously in use.

A new standard form of contract of sale of land has been approved by the LIV under s53A of the Estate Agents Act 1980 (Vic) and was launched at the LIV Property Law Conference on 23 August 2019. The copyright August 2019 Contract of sale of Land has been painstakingly drafted and designed to maintain the rightful status of the LIV/REIV contract as the pre-eminent contract of sale of land in Victoria. It is also designed to simplify document preparation and the conveyancing process.

The most obvious change is that the name of the document replaces the antiquated “real estate” with “land”, which aligns with legislation such as the Transfer of Land Act 1958 and the Sale of Land Act 1962.

The layout has been changed by: 

  • the addition of a cover sheet 
  • relocation of the statutory notices 
  • the addition of a table of contents 
  • removal of the special conditions which in the previous version occupied five and a half pages compared with seven pages of general conditions. They have been incorporated into the general conditions to form one complete contract. For contracts created using the new form, any special conditions will be genuinely special – not just general conditions awaiting approval so as to be included in a form of contract prescribed by regulations.

The sunsetting of the Estate Agents (Contracts) Regulations 2008 in August 2018, without a replacement, means that this new contract is now to be described by the month and year of the copyright notice which appears as a page footer. In the future, revisions can be made by the issue of a new copyright edition without the need for, and the delays associated with, obtaining prior government approval.  

What has changed?

The cooling-off notice to purchasers has been amended to align with s31 of the Sale of Land Act 1962 (Vic). That section draws a distinction between the day of a publicly advertised auction and the day on which a publicly advertised auction was held.

On the operative and signing page, definitions have been added of “section 32 statement” and “business day”. 

Particulars of sale

At the request of the REIV, provision has been made for the insertion of contact details for any estate agent representing the purchaser. With the increasing popularity of buyers’ advocates, the particulars now provide a convenient place to record these details, although the purchaser’s estate agent does not normally play a part in the contract between the vendor and purchaser.

In the description of the land, the wording of the cross-reference to the register search statement diagram has been simplified.

On the second page of the particulars, the boxes which required completion in the old form have been replaced by check boxes. A & A Property Developers v MCCA Asset Management Ltd provides an example of the difficulties caused by the previous requirements for particular words to be inserted. “Checked” normally entails using an “X”, however it seems almost inconceivable that a court would reject a tick.

If the vendor is willing to accept a deposit bond or a bank guarantee in lieu of a cash deposit, the relevant box or boxes should be checked. Nothing needs to be done by a vendor who is not willing to accept either, as the relevant general conditions are expressed not to operate unless the boxes are checked. A vendor who wants to avoid the possibility that the particulars might be altered later could strike through the entire line.

Careful consideration was given to adopting a multiple tick box section in respect of GST. In the NSW 2018 standard form there are no fewer than seven GST questions to be answered. The authors of the contract consider that an in-depth knowledge of GST law should not be a necessary prerequisite for an estate agent or conveyancer filling out the contract form.

The lease section of the particulars now requires the vendor to specify whether the lease is for a fixed term or is a periodic tenancy, and whether there is a residential tenancy.

In the loan section, the expression “(or another lender chosen by the purchaser)” has been added to clarify that the purchaser may satisfy its obligations by seeking a loan from a different lender.

New check boxes have been added to accommodate situations where a satisfactory building report or pest inspection is required. There is no longer a need to search the document to find the applicable condition and tick the box next to it, as all variables are now located within the particulars. 

There is no tick box for special conditions. If there are special conditions they will be located on the page provided after the particulars for that purpose. 

For a more detailed report, see next month’s legal feature on the new LIV/REIV Contract of Sale of Land. ♦

David P Lloyd, Murray McCutcheon AM and Robert Bradley drafted the August 2019 Contract of Sale of Land co-published by the LIV and the REIV.

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