Sheriff selling $630,000 Braybrook house for $1,000 had duty to obtain fair price, court told

Sheriff selling $630,000 Braybrook house for $1,000 had duty to obtain fair price, court told
Sheriff selling $630,000 Braybrook house for $1,000 had duty to obtain fair price, court told

The Victorian sheriff had a duty to “obtain a fair and reasonable price,” the Supreme Court was told in the trial surrounding the $1,000 sale of a Braybrook house.

Lawyers for the retailer Zhiping Zhou told the court that Zhou was “vulnerable to the sheriff properly exercising his duty under law.”

“He was exceptionally vulnerable to the price accepted by the sheriff,” barrister Paul Hayes said during the second day of the hearing. The court case continues into the third day on Monday February 13.

The Melbourne man is fighting to reverse the sheriff’s extraordinary $1,000 sale last year of his six-bedroom Braybrook home.

Lawyers for the buyer said their client had no case to answer with regard to acting unconscionably.

Lawyers for Zhou highlighted submissions in the buyer Ronald Kousal’s affidavit that he would search the Government Gazette every Thursday looking for properties coming up for auction. A week before the auction he would contact the sheriff’s office to find out if the auction was going ahead and following a review of the assets, land and any encumbrances set a budget for purchase.

Zhiping Zhou's house was repossessed by the sheriff. It still remains in Zhou’s registered name, according to a title search, although there are warrants of claim registered on title.

There was $465,000 owing on the property.

The Victoria Supreme Court heard the imposing two-storey brick house had an estimated value of $630,000 but was sold at the Swanston Street, Carlton sheriff's room at 2.30 pm December 16, 2010 in a without reserve auction.

Kousal bought the Wirraway Avenue home for $1,000, apparently beating off a $200 bidder. Its been suggested the costs without actually gaining occupancy and title had already surpassed $119,000 in legal fees, stamp duty and costs.

Anthony Strahan, for the sheriff, had argued the Sheriff's Act made the office ''immune'' from being held responsible for the outcome of such an auction, and the buyer must be protected.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer


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