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VIC Property Purchase - Unregistered and Undisclosed Life Estate?

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by Ann M, 12 February 2015.

  1. Ann M

    Ann M Active Member

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    In the event of the purchaser of a property discovering (post settlement) that the vendor's relative lives in a dilapidated shanty at the rear of the property that is hidden by overgrowth, what would the purchaser's options be? The relative has an unregistered life estate and the seller did not disclose the life estate in the Section 32.

    If the purchaser's registration of his interest on the title is not yet complete can he rescind the contract of sale and recover all of the money he paid for the property due to non disclosure from the vendor?

    If he chooses not to rescind the contract and his interest is registered on title (and given that a registered interest holds priority over an unregistered interest) can he serve notice to the relative to vacate? If this is so, can he claim damages against the vendor for legal fees and clean up costs (if any)?

    I would appreciate any feedback. Thank you.
     
  2. Ivy

    Ivy Well-Known Member

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    Hi Ann,

    What do you mean by "Unregistered life estate"? You need to establish what rights the person with the life estate has. What contract or Will was their title established under?

    If this relative has title over the property in the form of a life estate, then it is unlikely you will be able to give them notice to vacate. I think you should definitely be taking up the matter against the seller of the property. If they have sold you rights to the property that they don't have, then they are liable.

    You should go and speak with a solicitor as soon as possible.
     
  3. Ann M

    Ann M Active Member

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    Sorry for sounding vague. The searches showed clear title so the life estate is not registered. Not sure if a Will. Thanks.
     
  4. Ivy

    Ivy Well-Known Member

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    Hi Ann,

    As I said earlier, you will need to speak to a solicitor about this.

    However, you should try to find out more about the life estate. Who told you about it? The person who purportedly has the life estate or the seller of the property? Basically, if the life estate isn't registered, then the matter will need to be disputed under the old law (pre Torrens system). If the life estate is valid and was in place before you bought the property then as I said earlier, you will probably need to claim against the seller of the property.

    Good luck!
     

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