Don’t Settle For LessAugust 15, 2018
Over the life of owning a property, settlement can often feel like the final step in a long process. Upon a successful settlement, sellers mentally move on, thinking everything is done and dusted. However, there are often utilities that need cancelling, which falls outside the scope of services settlement agents are authorised to provide. Failure to take the time to follow through on this last step can see sellers paying hundreds of dollars unnecessarily.
Settlement agents ensure that outstanding council rates, land tax, and water rates are not passed onto a new owner, and will organise for any monies owed to be included in the settlement amount.
Telephone and internet connections are the most commonly remembered services that sellers cancel. However, it is also the seller’s responsibility to notify electricity and gas providers, and property insurance needs to be updated or cancelled. Sellers may be eligible for a refund on the unused portion of the policy. For example, if power is left in the sellers name after settlement, it is possible for the buyer to continue to use the service for some time after settlement — until the account is eventually cancelled. Some sellers hope for an adjustment and try to recover the extra cost from the buyer, but the buyer may be unwilling to pay.
I would urge all our clients in the pre-settlement stage to take a moment, make a list of all bills attributed to the property in their name, and check these have been earmarked for cancellation. If you are unsure what your responsibilities are and what your settlement agent handles, you can reach me on 9228 9111 or 0405 215 200.