In this edition of Outasite Lite we look at a recent case about whether a statement made by an agent amounted to a verbal agreement.
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This home and adjoining site was the subject of a dispute, described below.

Stand your ground

When it comes to agreements, promises and contracts the advice is always the same – get it in writing. Why? Because if a dispute arises the terms, or even the existence, of a verbal agreement can be difficult to prove. In this edition of Outasite Lite we look at a recent case about whether a statement made by an agent amounted to a verbal agreement.

In 2015 a prospective home owner purchased a home in a land lease community partly based on a verbal statement made by the sales assistant. In 2017 this home owner was in dispute with the operator because of the statement. At the heart of the dispute was whether what the real estate agent had said amounted to a binding promise or contract. The home owner believed it did but the operator claimed the agent had merely outlined a possibility.

The land lease community in question was being redeveloped and upgraded with older homes being removed and new homes being installed. There were a number of new homes for sale and the sales assistant showed several of these to the prospective home owner.

The home owner settled on a home that backed on to a grassy reserve and had a grassed area to one side. The home owner says that during the inspection she specifically inquired about the grassed area and the sales assistant said that it was most likely going to be a community garden because the site was too small for the new homes being installed by the operator. The home owner chose to purchase this home because of the open space surrounding it.

In March 2017 the home owner was surprised when the operator erected a fence around the adjoining site. The project manager advised the home owner that they would be installing a home on the site. Not only was this different to what the home owner understood the site would be used for, the home owner believed the fence was partly on her site and because of this a boundary dispute arose.

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The Tenants’ Union of NSW is a community legal centre specialising in NSW residential tenancies law, and the peak resourcing body for the NSW Tenants Advice and Advocacy Program.

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