Property law concerns the rules governing the rights of ownership and interests in real estate and personal property. More often, it involves the sale, purchase and transfer of land; the creation of easements and other interests in land; developing and registering plans of subdivisions; commercial and retail leasing; and occasionally, disputes regarding ownership, boundaries or access.
Conveyancing is the transfer and registration of title in property from one party to another whether that transfer is triggered by the sale or purchase of real estate, a family law property settlement, or disposals / acquisitions between family members, trusts or corporate subsidiaries.
Buying property essentially involves three stages – pre-purchase investigations, exchange of contracts and settlement. The aim during the conveyancing process is to ensure the new owner obtains clear title, is aware of any interests registered over the land (easements or rights of carriageway), is satisfied with its permitted use and the state and condition of any buildings. This is achieved by conducting various searches and investigations before and after exchange of contracts.
Stamp duty and GST issues should also be considered.
Selling property requires owners to have contract and a disclosure document called a vendor’s statement or section 32 statement. This includes a title search noting the interests recorded on the property, a plan of the land, and various other details about the land including zoning, outgoings and things such as planning permits and building permits which may affect the land.
We also provide legal assistance regarding land subdivisions, encroachments, easements and rights of way, covenants, caveats, as well as practical advice and guidance in dealing with Council issues.
We have carried out and advised on many adverse possession claims and boundary realignments.
Stamp duty and land tax
Stamp duty and land tax are complex areas of law. You may require stamp duty advice before commencing a transaction or you may have a change of circumstances which requires advice on your land tax assessment.
Mortgages and Security
Property is often used to provide security for debts and other obligations. We can prepare mortgages and loan agreements (which we often do in connection with family and related party loans) and provide you with advice in relation to securities on the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) over personal property and goods.
Commercial leases set out the rights between a lessor and lessee regarding the occupation and use of a property. Commercial leases classified as ‘retail’ are governed by specific legislation which requires the lessor to provide certain disclosures before the lease is entered. Retail leasing laws also prescribe matters such as minimum lease terms, how rent reviews operate, assignment provisions and mechanisms for resolving disputes.
Leasing disputes usually arise when the parties are unaware of their rights and responsibilities, or the lease provisions are ambiguous.