I purchased a house 10mths ago in Adelaide which has a wooden retaining wall built on 2 sides.I have just been advised by my local council the wall is substandard, higher than 1.2m and was not approved by them.They have given me 28 days to submit plans to rebuild or remove the wall.I contacted the conveyancer that assisted with the sale and was advised that in SA the rule is generally "buyer beware" & as I had a building inspection done at time of purchase I have no recourse.The terms in the contract clearly state the previous owner had done no unauthorised building since they purchased the house.Can I take legal action against the previous owner/estate agents?Cost to demolish/rebuild this wall would probably be $20-25K.
Good Afternoon, conveyancer has told you is accurate, but that does not mean that they may have been negligence on the part of the conveyancer or if the previous owner has made false claims in the contract that you cannot sue him for that.The question is whether or nor the previous owner was the party that built the retaining walls or not.The other question is whether or not the building inspection has looked illegal works and commented on.A Conveyancer does not have the legal knowledge or expertise to determine whether negligence has occurred with the purchase of the property or to advise you on whether or not there has been a breach of the contracts by the previous owner. if the previous owner did construct the retaining wall, then they have misrepresented and falsified the contract and therefore you have an action against them under the contracts and the conveyancing act of South Australia.You will need to take the file from the conveyancer to a solicitor the practices in property law to be able to give more detailed advice and at the same time request an extension from the council to comply with the order.I am not 100% 1st in the conveyancing practices in South Australia but if there was recent works undertaken by the vendors, they should have provided evidence that they had complied with Council regulations and approvals and also details of who the builders were that did the work and any homeowners warranty insurance.It appears that they may have been false statements made by the Sellers in the contract, even though they were the ones constructed the retaining walls without obtaining council approvals.You should contact the Law Society of South Australia and get a referral to solicit other practices in property law and get more detailed advice from them once they read the entire file from the conveyancer.The Law Society website is as follows:http://www.lawsocietysa.asn.au/I hope this is of assistance. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me.Having answered your question I would like to explain how I am paid for my work. The rating given by you, for my answer will decide whether or not I will be paid for my work. At the end of this post you will see 5 faces asking you to rate my work. Selecting either of the 2 the unhappy faces means you are not happy with my answer and do not wish me to be paid for my work. The other 3 mean I am paid. I would prefer you rate me at the very end of our session not after each response. This way I can be sure you have an answer that assists you and you can rate the whole experience. If you want more information after I respond, or wish to have something cleared up, select "Reply so Sydney-Lawyer" or "Reply to Expert" and we can continue until you are satisfied. I am here to assist you as quickly as possible, and you rating each post will delay the process as it does not tell me what the issue is. I would prefer you ask me questions than rating the response and not providing me with further questions.
Thanks for the response.In terms of the law is there any responsibility by the estate agent to confirm there are no illegal building works before selling the property.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).