10th edition contains significant changes for buyers and sellers
The Auckland District Law Society and the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (ADLS & REINZ) are the authors of the most common template Agreement for Sale and Purchase that is used by the majority of lawyers and real estate agents throughout New Zealand. In November 2019, ADLS & REINZ released the 10th edition of the agreement with changes that impact and benefit both buyers and sellers.
The 10th edition makes a number of changes to the agreement that include:
- Simplifying the terminology so it is consistent with the wording in the Land Transfer Act 2017
- Clarifying the obligations of the parties when fulfilling conditions, and
- Setting a clear distinction between chattels that have an operational function and those that don’t.
Building report conditions
If you have read an agreement for sale and purchase, you are likely to have seen the term ‘building report condition’. But do you know what a building report condition actually allows you to do, and what it doesn’t?
A building report condition gives you, as the buyer, the opportunity (10 working days is the standard, but this can be lengthened or reduced) to have a suitably qualified building inspector go through your soon-to-be-settled property and report on various elements of the building including the integrity of the construction materials used and its weathertightness.
The ‘KFC test’ and tenant privacy
Following publicity in 2018 that some property managers were using the ‘KFC test’ to vet prospective tenants, landlords’ protection of their tenants’ privacy has come under scrutiny by the Privacy Commissioner. Any unlawful intrusion into your tenants’ private lives can be a costly mistake. If you are a landlord, it is timely to ask yourself, “How can I best protect my property without risking a privacy breach?”
Important to get the GST component right
Generally speaking, GST on a property sale and purchase between two GST-registered entities results in a ‘GST neutral’ position for both the seller and the buyer. It’s essential that the sale and purchase agreement contains the correct wording, particulars and information in respect of the GST position of the parties to the agreement.
If, however, the parties to the agreement have not correctly recorded their respective GST positions, it can result in a situation where a GST liability is triggered. This can mean the seller would effectively receive a 15% reduction of the contracted purchase price (as they may have to return 15% of the purchase price to Inland Revenue). Or, a buyer may end up having to pay an additional 15% on the purchase price if the agreement turns out to be ‘plus GST’.
Property investors will be familiar with the bright-line test where there are potential tax issues if a residential rental property is owned for less than two years before it is sold. In addition to rental properties, the sale of a holiday home can be subject to a tax liability, as it is not a primary residence which is exempt.
In the current buoyant property market, many property investors have been considering selling other properties that form part of their rental portfolios.
Give it some thought when buying or selling
Agreements for the sale and purchase of rural land generally contain a ‘good husbandry’ clause. This clause is often inserted into the agreement as a ‘boiler plate’ or standard clause by real estate agents when preparing contracts. We discuss why it’s better to tailor-make this clause to suit each transaction.
The standard clause is often worded along these lines:
From the date of this Agreement until settlement, the Vendor shall continue to farm the property in a good and husband-like manner and in accordance with approved good farming practice in the district and shall neither overstock nor under-stock the property, nor do anything to impoverish the soil nor remove or damage any improvement or fixtures on the property.
However, both a seller and a buyer should give careful thought to the wording of this clause and its implications; it should be tailored to suit the particulars of any given transaction. This is particularly so for transactions where settlement is some time out from when the agreement was signed. It also needs to relate to properties where specific types of farming are being carried out.
Here is a letter from CKL setting out the proposed changes Waipa District Council are planning to make to their subdivision criteria.