Tim bought an apartment in the inner city.  He chose not to do a pre-settlement inspection of the apartment before the settlement date of the purchase as he assumed that the Vendor would make sure it was left free of rubbish and was clean.  He was very unhappy to find rubbish left in the apartment and the apartment left in a dirty state.

He sought legal advice about what he could do about the situation.
In the ADLS standard Agreement for Sale and Purchase, unless otherwise agreed, the Vendor is required to sell the property with “vacant possession”. This means that any existing occupants and their furniture, personal belongings, and rubbish should be cleared by settlement.

However, there is no clause confirming that the property will be cleaned to any particular standard.  Tim was entitled to request that the Vendor remove the rubbish (which they did on request after settlement) but was not entitled to ask them to come back and clean the apartment.

If the Vendor is unable or unwilling to give vacant possession on the settlement date, the Agreement for Sale and Purchase states that the purchaser is entitled to receive compensation from the Vendor for any costs incurred in storing the personal possessions which were left behind.  There is no right for compensation to cover cleaning costs.

Purchasers are able to do one inspection before settlement of a property.  We recommend this is done the day before settlement, as you have until 5pm that day to raise any issues that come up in the inspection.  It pays to make sure you carry out this pre-settlement inspection to make sure you won't be in for a shock when you move in, and to give you the opportunity to request that any rubbish or other items be cleared before you move in. 

If you are concerned that a property won’t be clean on settlement, you should include a requirement for cleanliness as an additional condition in your Agreement for Sale and Purchase before you sign it. 

Guy Goodwin