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Are you buying or selling and worried about council approvals?

When purchasing a property, it is important to ensure that any required council approvals have been obtained.

If you sign an unconditional contract and later discover that part of the house or a structure on the property does not have the necessary council approvals, generally, you cannot terminate the contract as of right. Accordingly, you would be responsible for either removing the non-complying works or structure or obtaining the necessary council approval.

If, however, after signing the contract, you discover that a property does not have the necessary council approvals and council had been aware of this prior to the contract being signed, and had previously issued a notice, then the seller must obtain the council approval. If the seller does not, then the buyer may pull out of the contract.

If you are at all concerned about part of a house or any structure that does not have council approval, we recommend that you insert a special condition requiring the seller to obtain council approval even if it is discovered after the contract was signed.

If you are a seller and you know that part of the building does not have council approval, you should disclose it. If the buyer is not concerned, then we recommend you insert a special condition into the contract whereby the buyer acknowledges that council approval has not been obtained for that part of the house and they will make no objection to it.

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