I'm thinking of buying a property that was built in the last 20 years how do I know if it is leaking and how do I protect myself?
We recommend that you:
Specifically ask the agent and the owners whether they have any knowledge of any problems with the building leaking they have no obligation to disclose this information unless you ask. It is preferable that this it recorded in writing.
Make the contract conditional on obtaining a pre-purchase building report from a properly qualified building consultant that is acceptable in all respects to you. Under no circumstances waive or modify this condition if you do you could be accepting responsibility for any problems that could have been detected by this inspection.
Make the contract conditional on obtaining a Land Information Memorandum and ensure that you look at the Code Compliance Certificate held by the Council which should be supplied with the LIM Report.
If the LIM report shows that the CCC was issued by a private building certifier as opposed to the Council you should consider carefully whether you want to proceed with the purchase. This is because it is unlikely that you will be able to sue the Council if there is anything wrong with the property and there will be no ability to recover anything from the private certifier because they have all ceased trading and no longer have any insurance cover for claims against them.
If you are buying a leaky building with knowledge of the defects you should realise that it is unlikely that you will be able to recover any of the costs of repair from the people responsible unless you purchase the vendors right to sue those people at the same time. You should seek specific legal advice on this issue before you proceed with the transaction � do not assume that the right to sue automatically goes with the ownership of the property, it does not.