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What does “vacant possession” mean?

When a property is sold with vacant possession, it means the property needs to be cleared of all personal property and any tenant needs to have vacated by the completion date.

When entering into a Contract for Sale for a property which is sold with vacant possession, it can mean different things depending on whether you are selling or buying.

When selling:

This can include:

  • Removing all items from the property, such as furniture;
  • Removing building materials stored in the garage, shed or under the house;
  • Removing any items such as car body parts, tyres, etc; or
  • Providing a tenant with the correct notice to vacate the property.

It would not include removal of any fixtures and fittings included in the Contract of Sale. The Purchaser is entitled to vacant possession under the Contract and settlement can be delayed or the Purchaser could seek compensation to attend to the removal post settlement.

When purchasing:

You should consider:

  • If the property appears to be untidy or has building materials or examples as mentioned above stored at the property and if so, you should advise your conveyancer/solicitor and they may be able to negotiate a clean-up clause in the Contract on your behalf so that the Contract is conditional upon the Vendor completing this work before you are required to settle; or
  • When completing the final inspection, which you are entitled to under the Contract, if the property should be in the same condition it was in when you agreed to purchase or if a clean-up clause or any other conditions apply and then ensure those works/conditions have been completed by the Vendor. 

If those works have not been completed, you are not required to settle until they are, and you cannot be penalised for the Vendor’s delay.

Mullane and Lindsay would be happy to assist you with your next sale or purchase. Please feel free to contact Michele Rumph of our office on 02 4928 7300.

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