Different states have different approaches to lodging a caveat. Here we’ll discuss Queensland’s approach to completing one.
What is a caveat?
In short, a caveat freezes the status of a property title to prevent it from being sold or dealt with. It also informs the public of the caveator’s interest in a property. Caveats are often used in land or family disputes and are removed once a resolution is reached by negotiations or through the courts.
When can someone lodge a caveat?
A caveat can be lodged by any person who claims an interest in a property. This interest must be a recognised type of interest by the courts. A recognised interest, or a caveatable interest, means you have a legal or equitable interest in the land.
A common mistake people make is looking to lodge a caveat when someone owes them money so they can secure a form of payment. A debt itself does not allow a person to lodge a caveat. There must be an interest in the land itself. A caveat that is lodged by someone without a proper basis may be liable for any loss or damage incurred by other parties because of the caveat.
How do I lodge a caveat?
Caveats are lodged in Queensland with the Queensland Titles Registry either directly or via PEXA, an online platform that enables the lodgment or settlement of any title activity. If lodging directly with Queensland Titles Registry, a Caveat Form (Form 11) must be filled out and submitted.
Alternatively, you can engage a solicitor to lodge it on your behalf through PEXA.
What happens after a caveat is lodged?
Lodging a caveat does not automatically mean that the caveat is valid. When a caveat is lodged, the property owner and other parties with an interest (such as the mortgagee on title) are notified. The property or land cannot be transferred or sold until the caveat is withdrawn.
A caveat usually remains on the title for 3 months unless any of the following apply:
- The property owner consents to the caveat
- A court order allows the caveat
- The caveat is lodged by the Registrar
- Court proceedings commence
In these instances the caveat will remain, rather than expiring (lapsing) after 3 months.
Removing a caveat
Once a caveat application has been submitted, the property owner can commence legal proceedings within 14 days of being notified to remove the caveat. The caveator must then bring evidence for the caveat to be maintained. As such, engaging a solicitor is beneficial in this process as they can give proper advice on lodging a caveat and its likelihood of success.
Additionally, if a caveat is already in place, the caveat can be removed by applying to the Queensland Supreme Court for review.
W Legal Group can help!
If you need assistance lodging or removing a caveat, call us on 03 9590 6180 or email us at email@example.com.