Buying an apartment
We know that buying an apartment can be a significant financial investment for many. That's why we recommend that before you buy an apartment, you should make sure you do your due diligence – particularly with regards to combustible cladding.
Thoroughly read the seller's Section 32 statement and review information from the owners corporation on combustible cladding, if it is available.
A Section 32 statement is a legal document that must be factually accurate and complete. A buyer might be able to withdraw from the contract of sale before settlement if the Section 32 statement contains incorrect or insufficient information. The Section 32 statement has details of current fees, insurance cover and any potential or existing legal claims affecting the property.
Section 32 statements are sometimes prepared up to 12 months before the sale of a property. Before settlement, buyers should ask for a new owners corporation certificate (which may incur a fee charged by the owners corporation), or make a time to inspect the owners corporation register and records.
You may also wish to ask for and review the previous owners corporation minutes from Annual General Meetings to give you a better understanding of the building's history.
Research the known issues at the address
Talk to the owners corporation or building manager and ask:
- if they know whether cladding is used on the building – this may be aluminium composite panels (ACP) or expanded polystyrene (EPS)
- if any Emergency Orders or Building Notices have been issued and whether they have been complied with
- if the insurer has made any enquiries about the building and what the results were
- for evidence that the building's essential safety measures (fire doors, smoke alarms, sprinklers, fire hydrants etc.) are installed and properly maintained.
Contact your local council and the VBA
You should contact your local council's building/planning department or Municipal Building Surveyor and ask if they are aware of any cladding or ﬁre safety issues on the building.
On a case-by-case basis, the VBA may provide legitimate buyers with information about whether a building has been audited as part of the Statewide Cladding Audit.
The Minister for Planning announced a prohibition (PDF, 485.37 KB) on the use of the external wall cladding products ACP and EPS for any building work in connection with buildings of Type A and Type B construction, effective 1 February 2021.
For more information about owners corporation certiﬁcates, Section 32 statements and owner's rights and responsibilities, visit consumer.vic.gov.au.