Property Law & Conveyancing FAQ's

What is the difference between a conveyancer and a settler?

Both a conveyancer and a solicitor can help you with a straightforward property purchase or sale. But only a solicitor can help you with more complex legal issues that sometimes arise during the process, and to provide advice.

What is 'Stamp Duty' and do I need to pay it?

Stamp duty is a tax imposed by your State Government on the purchase of property. Under the standard contract of sale, transfer duty is payable by the buyer.

The amount of the duty is determined by the purchase price of the property together with any concession you may be entitled to. 

What are the terms and special conditions in a contract?

Most property contracts have standard terms that are included with the intention of covering many of the most important aspects of a standard transaction. Since each transaction can be different and the parties may have different needs, many contracts may also have special conditions added.

Special conditions are included by agreement and can override the standard terms, so you need to know what anything that is added to your contract means before signing. 

What is the Title to a property?

Although it operates differently and by different names in each state, a land titles register is maintained by the government in each state to centrally record ownership of property. You can think of a Title as the record of ownership of property: a bit like car or vehicle registration for motor vehicles.

In the past, evidence of ownership of property was not centrally recorded and a chain of original documentation such as Certificates of Title was required. There remains a decreasing amount of land in some states that may still need to have ownership proved in this way.

Even where Title is centrally recorded, if you have any documentation that you think might be a Certificate of Title you should keep it safe so that you can provide it when selling your property.

 What are the key dates to be aware of in the conveyancing process?

There are several key dates, including:

  • The contract date – the date when all parties have signed the contract and agreed to its terms. Other key dates may be expressed with reference to this date e.g. “45 days after the contract date”.
  • The end of the “cooling off period” – this is the period during which buyer can terminate the contract without needing to rely on a term of the contract, and with limited potential for the seller to charge a penalty.
  • The finance approval date – the date by which a buyer must advise the seller that finance approval has been obtained. In some states, finance approvals are often arranged before the contract is signed and therefore this date may not be applicable.
  • The building and pest inspection date – the date by which a buyer must indicate to the seller their satisfaction or otherwise with the inspections they have obtained. You should get a licensed building inspector to perform the inspection as quickly as possible to meet this date. As with the finance condition, in some states this is finalised before the contract is signed and therefore this date may not be applicable.
  • The settlement date – the date on which settlement of the transaction is scheduled to occur.

While both parties may agree to change these dates, it is not always possible to reach agreements to change.

What are settlement price adjustments? 

The settlement process almost always spans an accounting period, during which authorities and organisations charge fees to the owners of the property – such as local government rates, state government levies or taxes (for example, land tax), and body corporate or strata fees for units.

Part of the conveyancing process involves making relevant adjustments in the purchase price to account for each party's share of these fees.

Other adjustments that are sometimes made include rental adjustments and fees for the release of existing mortgages. 

What are post-settlement notifications and registrations?

Following settlement, transfer documents are lodge­d with the relevant Titles Registry to officially record the change in legal ownership of the property. This lodgement of transfer documents is usually performed by the financial institution that is advancing funds to the purchaser.

The relevant rating authorities must also be notified of the change in ownership of the property. These actions mark the end of the conveyancing process.

I own a commercial property and my tenant says they cannot pay the rent – what should I do?

Contact your Solicitor as soon as possible as your entitlement to enforce your lease can be restricted. 

My tenant will not pay the outgoings including land tax on the lease – what can I do?

A Solicitor can advise you on the correct methods of notification to the tenant to get them to comply with their lease liability.

My landlord has offered my to continue my business lease but will not give it to me in writing – what should I do?

Your Solicitor can negotiate and advise on how to obtain a new lease as this directly affects the value and marketability of your business.

 My landlord wants to relocate me to another part of the shopping centre but I don’t want to do so – what should I do?

Your Solicitor can advise on your lease condition including relocation and whether permissible or not.

 

 

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