Dealing with storm damage when selling a home

Stock image.
Stock image.

THE winter months in Perth are usually cold and wet and this year has been no exception, with several storms battering the city and suburbs.

These conditions can cause damage to properties, fences, gardens and trees.

Depending on the severity of the damage, most homeowners can repair or tidy up themselves.

However, what happens if you’re a property owner in the process of selling your home?

REIWA president Hayden Groves said if you have recently sold your property and it is under contract when the storm damage is caused, Clause 8 of the Joint Form of General Conditions relating to ‘Risk’ comes into play.

“If the property becomes uninhabitable or any other building or improvement is rendered unusable compared to as at the contract date, the seller is required, under clause 8.3, to give notice to the buyer to that effect,” he said. “There are additional contractual elements to this, fortunately rare, occurrence and legal advice is often necessary to ensure both parties to the contract understand their rights and obligations.”

If the damage to the property is minor, Mr Groves said the seller would refer to Clause 9.1(e) of the Joint Form of General Conditions whereby it is warranted the property at settlement will be in the same state and condition it was in immediately prior to the contract date.

“For example, where a fence has been significantly damaged during the contract period, the owners, along with the neighbour, are required to repair or replace the fence within a reasonable time,” he said.