Section 32 – what the heck is it? (part 1)

by Chris Lang on October 29, 2008

Short version: One boring, awfully long, barely readable document that you get with the house contract. You can’t sign the contract if you haven’t received Section 32 for the house.

Long version: The real name of this document is Section 32 Vendor’s Statement – but we all call it just Section 32. You better read it and pay attention to the details, because it is the most accurate description of your future home you will ever get. This is a sample of a real Section 32, have a look here.

Here’s everything you need to know about Section 32 explained in plain English for simple folks:

In Section 32 the vendor describes a set of issues that the buyer must know about when purchasing a house. Those issues are:

Easements, Covenants and Restrictions

First let me explain what those are. Easement is a right to use a part of your land owned by someone else (a person or an organization). You need to know about easements because you are not allowed to prevents access to them, so if you plan, for example to build a shed on that piece of land – that would be illegal and in case of need that shed might be demolished at your expense.

Covenant is a fancy word for a promise to do or not to do something. A good example of covenant would be “A dwelling must be built substantially from brick or stone”. Such covenant means that you can not build a weatherboard house on a block of land with this covenant in title. You obviously need to know about any covenants because not complying with them means breaking the law.

This part should also list any existing failures to comply with the list of easements/covenants/ restrictions because once you’ve bought the house – they become your responsibility, never mind it wasn’t your fault. So unfair!

Town planning

Here you will see what authority is in charge of the town planning in general and your area in particular, what zone your house belongs to. If you’re buying a block of land this is important because if building a house in such zone is prohibited, this section will let you know. There are many zones (residential, commercial, rural, etc) and different rules apply to each zone so if you need to clarify anything regarding that issue, town planning department of your city council would be the right place to ask.

Read Part 2 of Section 32 explanation here.

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