VIC What legal rights does a property purchaser have if they cannot settle on a deal because of Covid?

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Jim weston

14 August 2019
Good Morning, my friends (American husband Indonesian wife) who are Australian Permanent Residents, purchased a block of land with a 10% deposit in Melbourne some time ago. The blocks have now been titled and are due to settle shortly. They want to settle as they love the block and the new suburb, however, because of Covid the wife cannot get back to Indonesia to organise the necessary transfers to get the $400,000 over to Australia. At a push she could technically get a flight and the necessary exemption but she has a very young daughter and there is no guarantee as to when she might be able to get a slot to get back to Australia; and she cannot be away from her young daughter for that length of time.

The conveyancer has told them that if they don't settle they will lose their 10% deposit (which is a significant amount of money).

Are there any provisions that have come about because of Covid, given they want to settle but at this stage can't, that would not see them lose their deposit if they cannot settle? I note when that with some of the apartment developers when clients can't settle they allow nomination sales or put the unit back on the market and charge interest and marketing fees until they resell the unit.

Would appreciate any thoughts and input from people that have knowledge in this area.

Kind regards James


LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
Based on your description their deposit is at risk. I can't see Covid helping when the wife has the ability to organise the transfers.