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Conveyancing & Property Law

We can assist with all your conveyancing and property law needs. Whether you are buying for the first time, selling your family home, investing, or leasing commercial premises, we will provide common-sense practical advice to help safeguard your legal interests. We are subscribers to PEXA and can complete most conveyancing transactions online through a secure national property exchange.

Buying a Property

If you are buying property, the principle of “caveat emptor” (buyer beware) generally applies. This means you need to do your research before entering a binding contract, so you know exactly what you are getting. There are certain matters that may not be obvious from the contract and/or a physical inspection of the property and we can recommend some of the reports that can help you make an informed decision about your proposed purchase. For example, building, pest, survey and strata inspections and reports should be obtained in most cases and carefully reviewed before contracts are binding.

We will review and explain the contract terms and any cooling-off rights and negotiate any conditions to ensure your interests are protected. We will guide you through the entire process, and assist with your lender’s requirements, if relevant. We can also help if you are first-home buyers and entitled to government concessions or exemptions.

Selling a Property

Before your property can be listed for sale in New South Wales you need to have a comprehensive contract to supply to your agent. The contract must include all prescribed documentation and relevant information affecting your property which as a vendor you are required by law to disclose. We will guide you through this process, explain your rights and responsibilities as a vendor, help you with any special conditions and complete your sale as efficiently as possible.

Buying a Strata Title Property

Property in a strata scheme is divided into individual lots and common property. The title of an individual lot is held by the owner who also has a shared interest in the common property with other owners. Common property includes stairways, lifts, and community gardens, etc.

When you buy into a strata scheme you become part of the Owners’ Corporation. Through a committee, the Owners’ Corporation manages the common property and establishes an administrative fund for regular outgoings and maintenance and a capital works fund for long-term or capital works. Your required contribution to these funds should be carefully considered when purchasing a strata title property.

Lot owners in a strata title development are bound by the by-laws which regulate things like carrying out renovations, noise, parking and the keeping of pets. They can be restrictive and must be carefully reviewed by prospective purchasers to ensure that they are suitable.

Pets and Property

The rise in the availability and affordability of strata title accommodation such as units, duplexes and townhouses has also increased the awareness of pet owners. When considering a move into such accommodation, it is essential that prior approval be obtained from the Owners’ Corporation. Otherwise you may find yourself in a situation where you will need to choose between your home and your pet.

We can assist you with determining whether a development is pet friendly, negotiate the approval of your pet and assist you in the event that the owners’ corporation reverses a previously pet-friendly policy.

Sales and Acquisitions of Commercial Property

Commercial property refers to property that is used for commercial purposes, such as office buildings, retail stores, warehouses and industrial parks. We can prepare contracts for the sale of shops, offices and factories, whether vacant or leased and with the assistance of your accountant can advise on general GST issues such as whether the sale is the supply of a ‘going concern’.

Mortgages and Refinancing

Most people rely on a loan from a lending institution to help finance the purchase of a property. A mortgage is essentially a ‘statutory charge’ in favour of a lender over property held in the borrower’s name. The mortgage secures the repayment of the money loaned and is registered on the title to the property. The loan contract gives the lender the right to sell the property in the event of a default.

If you are borrowing or refinancing a loan, we can liaise with your mortgagee to ensure all requirements are complied with, including the discharge of any existing mortgage.

We can also draft mortgage documentation on behalf of a lender/mortgagee and attend to registration to ensure your interest in the land or property is protected.

Verification of Identity

Verification of Identity (VOI) is a process used to confirm the identity of a person. It is particularly important in land and property dealings as it helps to reduce theft and land title fraud. Your lawyers must be satisfied that they are dealing with the person claiming to be authorised to enter transactions regarding the property.

If you are involved in a property transaction such as the sale or purchase of land or borrowing money secured by a mortgage, you will need to meet personally with your lawyer or other agency to provide documents and formally prove your identity.

During the VOI process you will be asked to produce original documents so that your identity can be compared (ideally) with a document containing photo identification.

The documentation required for the VOI process is similar to the present ‘100 points’ system commonly used for banking and other identification processes. There are various categories and combinations of documents which may be used to prove your identity. These include an Australian or foreign passport, drivers licence or photo card, birth or citizenship certificate, Medicare, Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs card. For those persons who are not Australian citizens or residents, other types of documents may be used.

If sufficient identification documents are not available, an Identifier Declaration may be used which enables another person to identify you. Your Lawyer can advise you on this process.

Property Disputes

We can advise you on all property related disputes such as dividing fences, encroachments or problems with neighbouring properties.

At times disputes or problems arise during the conveyancing process and in such cases, we can usually negotiate an efficient, cost-effective resolution. If we are unable to negotiate a resolution, we can pursue your rights via litigation.

Neighbourhood Disputes

Living with neighbours has definite social benefits, but sometimes issues surface that make it difficult to live alongside each other. Disputes can arise about minor issues such as fences, trees, noise, pets, children, access and music. These issues can be extremely distressing if they cannot be resolved with your neighbour. We can help you identify the issues in dispute and advise about your rights, negotiate and enter into correspondence on your behalf, or help you refer the matter to a Community Justice Centre for mediation and resolution.

Sometimes these disputes can become more serious and may require the involvement of legal professionals. Common disputes involve:

  • trespassing
  • trees including damage to neighbouring property by tree roots and overhanging branches
  • easements and encroachment onto neighbouring property
  • dividing fences
  • access to neighbouring land for issues such as building works or tree trimming
  • arguments about privacy (for example, if a neighbour is peering over a fence)
  • damage, trespass and noise from animals

If you need assistance, contact one of our lawyers at [email protected] or call 02 9929 8777 for expert legal advice.