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VIC Suspect Contract of Sale was Altered - What to Do?

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by Dons, 3 April 2016.

  1. Dons

    Dons Member

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    We have recently entered into a contract of sale to sell our property. The day after of accepting an offer, our agent brought the contract to our house for us to sign, which we signed and initialed everything in blue pen. It had on it that a deposit was to be paid by a set date, of which a certain amount had already been received.

    We asked what happens with the deposit (our agent knew we needed it for our new house), and we were told by our agent that once it was received, it would go into a trust account and we needed to sign a form to get it released.

    Later that day, when we received the scanned copy of the contract, we noticed it had a handwritten notation that mentioned the deposit was to be paid by a Deposit Bond (a Bond Deposit was never discussed with us). I spoke to my partner, whom couldn't recall it being on there either and it had our initials in black not blue like the rest of the contract and looked like it was scanned onto the document (the initials looked slightly more pixelated than the rest of document like it was added in after it was scanned).

    Our conveyancer had given us forms to sign for the early release of the deposit and when we took the paperwork back to her she had said to us "you can't get the deposit released as it is getting paid via a bond deposit, I wasn't aware that it was getting paid via a bond deposit".

    We don't have a copy of the original document, only the scanned copy, which I am going to try to obtain the original from them.

    I have always said to my partner, "something is not right about the deposit bond on the contract," but only over the last few days have I really looked into the scanned contract and noticed the difference.

    The settlement is coming up in the next week, so obtaining a deposit now is not worth it as we get it on the settlement.

    If we think the document had been altered, what is our next step? Are we able to claim the few hundred dollars we had to pay to obtain a deposit bond for the new house, etc?

    Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi Dons,

    Yes if a contract was to be altered after you signed it, especially if your initials were forged, this would be a serious matter and you would of course not be bound by the clause that was illegally inserted. It is actually a crime to falsify a document in VIC, and in addition to that Real Estate agents must comply with the rules and code of conduct set out for them under the Estate Agents Act.

    If you suspect something, do request the original and get to the bottom of it.
     

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