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The recent decision of our High Court in Butcher & Anor v Lachlan Elder Realty Pty Ltd is cause for real estate agents to remind themselves to exercise caution when using disclaimers in their sales material produced for vendors.
Often agents rely on information obtained from others to produce their brochures for listings, for example land surveys representing boundary lines.
If agents use this information to make statements of their own – in showing a purchaser around a property the agents states that an extension of 10 sq meters is possible given the existing boundary – then the agent may be found responsible if the survey is incorrect and the purchaser can’t build the extension.
The agent may be found to have engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct under the Trade Practices Act or the Fair Trading Act.
It’s simply not possible to determine the accuracy of all information you rely on in selling a property. So disclaimers can offer protection. Indeed the agent’s disclaimer saved him in Butcher.
But the Court pointed out the result could easily have been different. The agent could have done more, for example, he could have stated the author of the survey on his sales brochure.
Find out what more you can do to protect yourself.
The use of a carefully constructed disclaimer could save you much time, effort and money.
DISCLAIMER: this newsletter is not intended as legal advice; no reliance is to be placed hereon.