As a buyer you want to be confident of the condition of the house you’re buying. Most buyers are aware of the hidden menace posed by termites and other pests. Generally an inspection and report by a pest control professional will make the position clear.
But, here’s the trap…
The standard-form contract for sale of land in Western Australia, known as the Contract for Sale of Land or Strata Title by Offer and Acceptance, does not include a condition relating to termite or pest inspection. Buyers should ask the seller, or their real estate agent, to insert a special condition into the contract before it is signed.
Most real estate agents will give you their standard special condition dealing with termite reports, however buyers should read the clause carefully, and make any alterations necessary, to ensure it meets their needs. In particular, check the clause allows you sufficient time to obtain an inspection and report. Due dates are important here.
Further, a termite clause must impose clear rights and obligations on both parties if the report discloses live termite activity or damage to the property. Under a typical clause:
- seller may elect to rectify the issue at their own expense within a specified time; and
- if the seller is unwilling or unable to do so, the buyer then has the option to terminate the contract and receive a refund of any deposit paid.
Of course we recommend you obtain legal advice before you sign a real estate contract. As your independent settlement lawyers, contact us to book a consultation.