Conveyancing & Property Law
We have a wealth of experience in property law and provide conveyancing services for transactions in both South Australia and Victoria. We have handled many large and complex residential, commercial, and rural property transactions including the sale and acquisition of rural enterprises such as cattle stations and wineries.
We also advise on a range of property related matters such as the transfer and creation of interests in land, buying property through a trust, commercial and retail leasing, subdivisions, and property development.
Conveyancing is the transfer of legal title in property from one party to another and is often one of the largest financial transactions a person will make. Typically, the process moves quickly, from the acceptance of a buyer’s offer to final completion where the property is officially transferred from the seller to the purchaser.
Conveyancing is often perceived as a ‘routine’ process, however there are many considerations. Signing a contract to buy or sell property creates binding obligations between the parties – the penalties for default on a contract can be significant, so it is important to understand the legal implications before entering such arrangements.
Selling a residential property
Selling your home can be stressful, especially if you are relying on the sale to purchase another property. Much needs to be considered – from preparing a contract suited to your needs but compliant with prescribed requirements; negotiating with proposed buyers; liaising with your lender to discharge any mortgage over the property; to settling your sale on the nominated completion date. While the legal implications are considered, there is also a myriad of practical matters to attend to such as getting ready to move, disconnecting services, etc.
Buying a residential property
When a transaction like purchasing a property involves such a large amount of money, the stakes are high if things go wrong.
When purchasing a property, you should have all the information necessary to ensure that the investment is right for you. Although the law requires a vendor to provide certain information, there are various matters that are your own responsibility to research. Your lawyer or conveyancer can recommend a range of due diligence searches and enquiries that should be undertaken at various stages of the purchasing process to help protect your interests. They will also explain your rights and obligations under the contract, including any cooling-off and rescission rights.
Whether you are buying or selling property, we will help protect your interests and keep you informed every step of the way to ensure as seamless a transaction as possible.
Conveyancing – purchasing entities
When purchasing property, you should consider how you want to hold your land with any co-owners – whether as joint tenants or tenants in common.
The principal feature of joint tenancy is survivorship. Upon the death of one joint tenant the surviving joint tenant(s) automatically inherits the interest of the deceased party in the property. This principal applies even if contradictory directions are made in a Will.
Unlike joint tenants, tenants in common have no entitlement by way of survivorship. Each tenant in common has an individual estate which survives them. Tenants may hold their interests in unequal shares, usually determined by the proportion of capital contributed. The estate can be left by Will or disposed of during your lifetime.
We can help you determine the most appropriate way to hold your interests in the property you purchase.
Buying or selling rural property
Buying and selling rural property generally requires additional considerations. If the sale incorporates a farming enterprise, the business aspects of the transaction must also be considered including the appropriate treatment of Goods and Services Tax (GST), (as applicable).
In addition to the dwelling and fixtures, the contract may include livestock, crops, plant, and equipment. Land and/or stock should be checked for affectations by chemical residue, contamination, noxious weeds, infestations, livestock disease or feral animals. Buyers will need to investigate the existence of water-use licences and rural easements and rights of way.
Buyers should confirm the permitted use of the land and the types of agricultural activities allowed not only on the subject property, but on neighbouring land, which could impact the use and enjoyment of the property being purchased.
Subdivision is a complex process which requires ongoing consultation between surveyors, local council, and state consent authorities. This process can be simplified by instructing a lawyer or registered conveyancer to advise, compile and lodge the application on your behalf.
In South Australia, development approval must be obtained before land can be divided into separate allotments. This applies whether it is a boundary change between neighbours, one or more allotments being created or a large-scale development creating numerous allotments.
Working with building professionals and an experienced property lawyer to check off due diligence matters, liaise with authorities, and to prepare and explain titling and legal concepts is invaluable throughout this process.
A lease is a contract conferring a right for a person or entity (lessee) to occupy property belonging to another person (lessor). A lease is a legally enforceable document that sets out the rights and obligations of the lessee and lessor. We can prepare, advise, and negotiate on a range of leasing agreements.
A residential lease is the formal arrangement between a tenant and landlord setting out the terms for the tenant to occupy a home or unit. We can negotiate and draft a lease which outlines the duration of the lease, the payment of rent as well as ensuring the landlord’s property remains protected from damage, with recovery options from tenants who fail to pay agreed rental arrangements.
Commercial leases set out the legal terms and conditions through which businesses may occupy premises to run their operations. It is important to seek legal advice before entering a commercial lease. Given that many small businesses fail within the first few years of trading, it is important that a skilfully drafted lease is in place to ensure that both the tenant and the landlord are protected in the event that the business fails. Many lease disputes can be avoided with careful drafting of a lease agreement to ensure the terms provide clarity.
It is becoming increasingly common for a farmer to wind down and lease a section of land to an ambitious and enthusiastic farmer looking to expand. A prudent farmer should have a lease in place to ensure that the land is not damaged irrecoverably throughout the duration of the lease.
We provide expert conveyancing and property law services for a range of matters, giving advice and guidance to individuals, property developers, commercial clients, and financial institutions.