Whether you are in Adelaide, the Riverland or anywhere else in South Australia the correct address is something you need to be aware of.
The contract has been signed and the address has been noted by the agent as 3 Smith Street on the contract. This is what the vendor had advised it should be and the letterbox also had that number on it. That is what you would expect the address to be and of course that is what the purchaser thought as well. However this may not be correct and in this case it certainly wasn’t.
We recently had a purchaser with this situation and while the search from the Lands Titles Office had 3 Smith Street, the Council search had 3A Smith Street. So who is right and how does this need to be dealt with? With more and more properties being subdivided now, mistakes can and do happen. At the time of subdivision and the sale of the newly divided property the address may not even have been allocated let alone what you expect.
Which Search is Correct?
The Council is the governing body that is responsible for allocating Street Numbers so in this case the Lands Titles Office had to be notified of the correct numbering so that they could change their records. It ended up that there was no number 3 at all. The Council had given the properties the numbers as 3A and 3B.
Luckily it was all sorted before any transfers and change of addresses had been finalised for the parties concerned. Not sure how the postie would cope with these changes but as the properties were newly built and had not been lived in by the previous owners this did not become an issue.
Why was there a difference?
There are many reasons this can happen, and it often occurs in the subdivision process, and this is what happened in the case above. This error can occur when the Council originally advised the Lands Titles Office, and the numbers get “mixed up” or occurs when the Council has a change of heart and amends the addresses without advising the relevant authority. For whatever reason if it does happen in a property that you are purchasing then we can assist you with sorting the issue out.
A contract and Form had been prepared and all the necessary things had been dealt with such as a discharge request for the outgoing bank, new loans for the incoming bank, transfers prepared and all booked in readiness for settlement. What could be wrong you ask?
Well, it just happened that the outgoing banks representative at settlement (in the paper days at the Land Titles Office settlement room) was crosschecking the mortgage that was being discharged and lo and behold it did not match the other documentation provided. The discharge was for a different property. After some in depth searching it turned out that the contract had been prepared for the lot next door (still the vendors property)!
In this case the address had not been yet allocated by the Council and the Contract noted the Lot number and Certificate of Title reference. The crosschecks that normally take place did not matter as it was all taken as per the contract. What should have happened is the purchaser/vendor initialling the actual land they were purchasing so that it could be ascertained as to which block and the correct Lot number on the plan.
The contract and Form 1 had to be reissued with the correct details and the loan process also had to be undertaken again to finalise settlement. Two weeks delay but in the end the right property was transferred to the purchaser. Being advised the address may have helped but it is really all too easy to get new land mixed up so make sure all the checks and balances are completed prior to settlement. Luck the bank was on the ball for this one!
More than just street numbers
Luckily as conveyancers we go by more than just street numbers otherwise in each of the above examples they could have purchased the wrong property! The Certificate of Title details, valuation details, mortgage numbers, loan numbers, lot or allotment numbers are all factors that assist in getting the transfer completed correctly. In the case of newly subdivided land it is also best to make sure that the plan is marked and initialled when completing the contract so they know that block they are purchasing is the correct one.
We certainly check all the searches and work out any anomalies as early on as possible so that any discrepancies can be dealt with quickly prior to settlement. Unfortunately, if the address has not been allocated by settlement the problem as in example 2 could still yet arise in the future.