Understanding Land Tax (Victoria)

As someone looking to build their property portfolio in Victoria, it is important to understand Land Tax treatments and what it means to you. What is Land Tax? Land tax is the annual tax you pay to the State Revenue Office for all the land you own in Victoria that is not your principal place … Read more

What is the difference between an Inactive and Self-Managed Owners Corporation?

What is an Owners Corporation? An Owners Corporation manages (previously known as Body Corporate) the common property areas of residential, commercial, and retail premises. Members of the Owners Corporation appoint a manager to oversee these common property areas. Some examples of common property can include driveways, gardens, stairwells pathways, and fences. Whilst these common property … Read more

How to avoid Unfair Dismissals in a Small Business

The Fair Work Act establishes rules about terminating employment in a lawful and fair manner. Although there are many reasons employment can end, workplace laws set out the required procedure to follow in order to avoid the unfair dismissal of an employee. Whether the employer’s business was is a large or small business is relevant. … Read more

I am a temporary resident. What types of property can I buy in Australia?

Purchasing property in Australia can be challenging for temporary residents due to the strict requirements and approval processes in place.  What is a temporary resident? A temporary resident is defined as:   A person with a visa period of less than 12 months is considered a foreign non-resident.   Foreign Investment Approval Board (FIRB) A temporary resident must … Read more

What is the First Home Buyer Choice? 

The First Home Buyer Choice is a New South Wales Government Scheme, which commenced on 16 January, 2023. This provides buyers with the choice of paying transfer (stamp) duty or opt into paying property tax annually.  This Scheme is applicable to contracts entered into on or prior 30 June 2023. This scheme is available for first home … Read more

I am a foreign investor. What is an Exemption Certificate for purchasing residential properties? 

The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) is an Australian Government board that reviews applications made by foreign persons or entities interested in purchasing a property in Australia.   There are different applications for foreign investment approval, depending on the type of property being purchased. In this article, we explore the compliance requirements surrounding residential land.  Who … Read more

Key things to look for in a Commercial Lease agreement

Interested in leasing a retail or commercial space? Read on to ensure you understand some of the lease terms before signing on the dotted line! Length of Lease The duration of a lease can be negotiated between landlord and tenant. Unlike residential tenants, commercial tenants in most Australian jurisdictions are entitled to at least a … Read more

What should I do before signing a lease agreement? 

What is a lease? A lease is an agreement between the landlord (i.e. the owner of the property) and the tenant (i.e. the person who occupies the property) that details the tenant’s right to exclusive use and possession of the property for an agreed duration.    A lease commonly details, but is not limited to, the … Read more

What is a Power of Attorney? Can it be revoked?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to control who makes decisions for you, while you are still alive. At some point in your life, you may consider appointing a trusted family member or friend to make decisions on your behalf. Differences between a Power of Attorney, Guardianship/Administration Order, and Wills … Read more

The difference between Guardians and Administrators, and how to apply

There may be circumstances where a person with reduced decision-making capacity needs support to make personal or financial decisions. A guardian or administrator may be appointed to assist in such circumstances where there is no enduring Power of Attorney (POA) in place. Difference between guardian and administrators Guardians are appointed to make personal lifestyle decisions … Read more

Australian Federal Budget 2023 

The Australian Federal Budget (‘Federal Budget’) for 2023 holds particular significance for the real estate sector as it shapes Australia’s path to easing the threshold for property ownership and the impacts of the housing crisis.    Home Guarantee Scheme Overview The Home Guarantee Scheme (‘Scheme’) in Australia is a government initiative aimed at assisting 35,000 eligible … Read more

How do I purchase property under a Self-Managed Super Fund? 

A Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) is a private super fund that you manage yourself. So instead of putting your money into a retail or industry super fund, you are managing your super fund yourself and decide how the funds are invested and their insurance.   Can I purchase residential/commercial property with my Self-Managed Super Fund?  In … Read more

Related Party Transfer – How does it work?

A Related Party Transfer (RPT) is the process of where a property is transferred between parties that are related.   The term ‘related parties’ means people who are related by blood, marriage, relatives, associated trusts and companies.   How does stamp duty work on a Related Party Transfer?   Stamp duty (now known as land transfer duty) is … Read more

Paying and releasing deposits when buying a property in NSW

After signing a contract of sale, as the purchaser, you are required to pay a deposit at exchange of the contract.   Deposits in NSW The deposit is usually 10% of the purchase price, but this can vary when the buyer and seller negotiate a different amount. In New South Wales, you would typically first pay … Read more

Minimum Entitlements – A Case Study In Wages

All employees in Australia are governed by different legislative instruments. The purpose of these instruments is to protect the rights and entitlements of employees. The Fair Work Act 2009 (‘the Act’) sets out minimum entitlements that all employers must provide to their employees. Wages One entitlement we are most familiar with is wages. The Fair … Read more

What Should I Check Before Signing An Employment Contract?

Congratulations on your job offer! But before you sign your new employment contract and start celebrating, it is important to understand the terms of your employment.   Here we’ll outline the key things you should look for. Your Rights and Entitlements Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), all employees in Australia are entitled to the … Read more

I can’t find my Certificate of Title, what should I do?

Can’t find the original paper Certificate of Title for your property? Not to worry, the title can be located or replaced by the Victorian titles’ office.   What is a Certificate of Title?  A Certificate of Title is the official record of who has interest and rights over a piece of land.   What’s the recovery process?  … Read more

How do I lodge a caveat in New South Wales (NSW)?

What is a caveat?  A caveat is a legal notice that prevents the registration of new dealings and plans on the title. This means that any further dealings in relation to the land cannot take place without first removing the caveat or obtaining the caveator’s written consent.   A caveat recorded on the title is a … Read more

What is an Advance Care Directive plan? 

An advance care directive is a document that outlines your instructions and preferences for future care in the event you lose the ability to make decisions in relation to your care.   An advance care directive is not the same as an appointment of a medical treatment decision maker. Under a Medical Treatment Decision-maker appointment document, … Read more

How do I lodge a caveat in South Australia (SA)?

What is a caveat?   A caveat is a legal notice which prevents the transfer of a land title without the consent of the caveat holder. The purpose of a caveat is to prevent any further formal dealings on the property to protect and preserve the interest of the caveator. Anyone who does a title search … Read more

What should I know before signing as a guarantor for a loan?

Becoming a guarantor for a loan is a significant decision involving considerable financial risk. Before agreeing to become a guarantor, it is important that you under your obligations, how that looks under a loan contract and understanding the risks associated. What is a guarantor? A guarantor can be a person or company, commonly used by … Read more

How do I know whether my employee falls under NES or a Modern Award?

Pay rates and workplace conditions are governed by one of the following legal instruments in Australia – National Employment Standards (NES), Modern Award (‘Award’), or Enterprise Agreement (EA). The NES and Award applies more often to small or medium businesses. What is the NES? The NES is applicable to all employees in Australia. It sets … Read more

How do I ensure workplace compliance for my business?

What is workplace compliance? There are laws and regulations in Australia that applies to all workplaces, no matter the size or the industry. Workplace compliance in businesses means following the relevant laws and regulations for your industry. This is important to ensure a safe, fair, and healthy work environment for your employees. This, in turn, … Read more

What are my rights as an employee in Australia? 

In Australia, all employees are governed predominantly by legislation or industrial instruments (ie. agreements). The Fair Work Act 2009, or ‘the Act’, plays one of the biggest roles in protecting employee rights in Australia, though certain states maintain its own state-based workplace relations system. National Employment Standards (NES) The Act sets out the NES, which … Read more

What is considered unfair dismissal? What should I be wary of?

What is an unfair dismissal? Unfair dismissal is where: What are the employer’s rights? Employers must understand the process and procedure for bringing employment to an end. The issue to avoid here is whether the employer’s act can be classified as unfair dismissal. Employment can end for various reasons, including: Depending on the size of … Read more

7 Things to Look For Before Hiring a Property Lawyer in Sydney

Conveyancing is a process that involves the transfer of the legal title of a property from one person to another. The most common type of conveyancing transaction is selling property from one owner to another, but it can also be used in other situations, such as when a property is inherited or gifted.  The first … Read more

What is a Power of Attorney? What are the different types?

Life is unpredictable, and you may unexpectedly find that you are no longer able to make decisions due to an injury or illness. You could also lose legal capacity to make decisions, or are travelling overseas and need someone to make decisions for you while you are away. By appointing a POA you can choose … Read more

Why you should never buy or sell a property without a conveyancer

Purchasing and selling a property in NSW is relatively straightforward when you appoint the appropriate persons for the transaction. In this article, we focus on why you should never buy or sell your property without a conveyancer or solicitor. The purpose of Sydney conveyancers and solicitors   The role of a conveyancer or solicitor is to … Read more

Attention Employers- Amendments to the Fair Work Act

On 6 December 2022, The Federal Government has passed the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022 (‘the Amendment Act’), which will affect employment agreements and contracts. Here we discuss some of the key changes to employment contract compliance requirements Fixed or Maximum-Term Contracts    Traditionally, fixed or maximum-term contracts prevent employees … Read more

When is a survivorship application required? What is the process?

When property and assets are jointly owned, and one of the joint owners passes away, the property and assets will automatically pass to the surviving party. Both names will remain on the title until a survivorship application is completed. To remove the deceased party’s name from the title, the surviving party must lodge a survivorship … Read more

What is a restrictive covenant? Can it be removed?

Property developers and owners need to determine if their land is affected by any restrictive covenants before developing or conducting works on the land or property. What is a Restrictive Covenant?    A restrictive covenant is an agreement that restricts the use or enjoyment of a landowner’s land and how the land may be developed. … Read more

How to Lodge a Caveat – Tasmania (TAS)

The process of lodging a caveat is not difficult, but it’s important to understand whether there is a valid interest in the property which the caveat seeks to protect. Caveatable Interest A caveat is a legal notice which can prevent any dealings with a property without the consent of the caveat holder. You can register … Read more

How to Lodge a Caveat – Queensland (QLD)

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 … Read more

How to Lodge a Caveat – Western Australia (WA)

Different states have different approaches to lodging a caveat. Here we’ll discuss Western Australia’s approach to completing one. What is a caveat?    A caveat is essentially a notice placed on the title which prevents any person from selling or dealing with the property. What is a caveatable interest? Any person who has a legal … Read more

“Take My Word For It” – Can representations be relied upon?

When buying a property you’ll most certainly be fed with a mountain of advice and information from Real Estate Agents, the vendor’s legal representatives, or even from the vendor directly. But whose words can be relied upon with enforceability?  Real Estate Agents & Vendors When buying a property a Real Estate Agent will introduce the … Read more

Federal Budget 2022-2023

The release of the Federal Budget for 2022-2023 has been disclosed. Here what’s in it for property and the real estate sector. National Housing Accord The National Housing Accord sets an aspiration target to build one million new, well-located homes over 5 years from mid-2024. The Accord is said to recognise most of the housing … Read more

What does it mean to sign the contract ‘Subject to Finance’?

We generally advise our clients, no matter where they are in Australia, to include the finance clause in their Contract of Sale. Here is our list of FAQs surrounding the ‘Subject to Finance’ clause. What is the finance clause? ‘Subject to Finance’ (STF) means that the buyer will proceed with the purchase if formal loan … Read more

When Do I Need Building Insurance?

Homeowners often renovate their properties before selling. But whether you’re renovating for a sale, or just want a new kitchen island, Domestic Building Insurance (‘DBI’) may be required. See our checklist below to find out if this applies to you.   What is DBI?   DBI, formerly known as Owner Builders Warranty Insurance, protects homeowners from defective … Read more

What am I looking for at my Final Inspection?

Final inspections occur within the final week prior to the day of settlement. As a purchaser, you are entitled to check your purchased property to ensure the property is delivered in the same condition as of the day of sale. Be thorough – check before you sign! It is good practice to take as many … Read more

Subdivision 101 – How do I subdivide my land?

What is a Plan of Subdivision? The Plan of Subdivision is a registered Plan drawing (recorded in the Land Registry) that records land boundaries, land size, and placement of easements of the property. To subdivide your property, an application is made to the Land Registry for a new Plan of Subdivision to be recorded in … Read more

How do I make an adverse possession claim?

What is adverse possession? When you purchase a property, you receive the title for that parcel of land. Adverse possession is an act to claim land that does not belong within your registered title. Common examples of adverse possession include inadvertently fencing off a neighbour’s land without their consent or knowledge, or restricting public access … Read more

Am I eligible for the off-the-plan stamp duty concession?

Stamp duty, otherwise known as transfer duty, is a tax levied by the Government on transactions when you acquire an interest in the property. You may be eligible for Off the Plan (OTP) duty concession, depending on where the type of property is purchased and its location. See below as we discuss stamp duty treatments … Read more

Do I need a Foreign Resident Capital Gains Withholding Clearance Certificate (FRCGWCC) when I sell my property?

Are you an Australian resident selling a property? Will the sale price to be more than $750,000?   If so, you will be need to provide a Foreign Resident Capital Gains Withholding Clearance Certificate (FRCGWCC, or ‘clearance certificate’) to purchasers prior to settlement.  What is a clearance certificate?   From 1 July 2017 onwards, legislation requires 12.5% … Read more

What do I need to disclose when I sell my property? 

What is considered too much or too little information, and how do you ensure you provide the right information? There are 5 general items that you need to disclose when you sell your property. Pre-contractual disclosure obligations  It is a seller’s obligation to disclose all relevant information that may be considered a limitation, restriction or … Read more

What happens to my super fund if I pass away? Can I put it in my Will?

Your superannuation fund (i.e. ‘super fund’) may be a major, if not the largest, asset of yours. When managing your estate and assets it is crucial understand how your superannuation benefits are dealt with after your death. How are my super benefits dealt with?   Your super fund is managed by a board of trustees (‘the trustees’) … Read more

Can I Exclude Someone from My Will?

“Where there’s a Will, there are 500 relatives.”   In making a Will, it can be just as challenging to decide who to exclude from your estate as it is to decide who is to benefit from it. People often think ‘it’s my Will, so I get the final say’. However, Australia laws prevents Will-makers, also … Read more

Don’t have a Will? Rules of Intestacy will apply! 

To Will or not to Will? Let’s explore the legislative rules that apply in the event of you passing without one.   What are the Rules of Intestacy?  If you don’t have a will, you are said to have died ‘intestate’ upon death. As such, the Rules of Intestacy will apply.   This means the … Read more

I have inherited property – what happens now?

Itis never easy dealing with the loss of a relative or close friend. Having some understanding of how property transfers from deceased estates are treated can alleviate the stress from managing the remaining assets and belongings of your lost loved one.   What is a ‘Deceased estate’?  A deceased estate is anything owned by the person … Read more

DIY Wills – what are the risks? 

Making a Will is the essential step in estate planning – outlining your wishes and how your loved ones are to be cared for when you are no longer around. Surprisingly, some people still feel that spending money on ensuring a Will is validly prepared is unwarranted. While DIY Wills and DIY Will Kits are money … Read more

FIRB Approval for residential properties: what you need to know 

Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval is a permit issued by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) that allows foreigners to have property investments or buy a home in Australia. For the purpose of this article, we will be focusing on residential property investments. Am I Required to Apply for FIRB Approval?  Before a contract is … Read more

The Pros and Cons of Buying Off-The-Plan

Entering the property market can be challenging. Additionally, it can be overwhelming having to also consider factors such as affordability, stamp duty, and property age. Buying an off-the-plan property can be an attractive solution as they are often more affordable, come with stamp duty savings, and are brand new. What is an Off-The-Plan Property? An … Read more

What is a caveat? Do I need one? 

What is a caveat?  Under Section 89 of the Transfer of Land Act 1958, a caveat is a legal notice which can prevent any dealings with a property, such as the transfer of the land title, without the consent of the caveat holder. When a caveat is registered it will appear on a property’s title unless … Read more

What is a “covenant”? How does it affect my property?

You may have heard this term ‘covenant’ or ‘restrictive covenant’ when looking into property. But what exactly is it? And why is it important for property buyers and sellers?   What is a restrictive covenant?  A restrictive covenant, or more commonly known as just a covenant, is a private agreement or contract between neighbouring landowners. … Read more

What is an Owners Corporation? 

An Owners Corporation (OC), formerly known as Body Corporate, is a legal entity which is created when subdivided land containing a shared area (common property) or facility is registered with state Land Registries. This is typically seen in larger scale subdivisions with mixed residential and commercial uses. More than one Owners Corporation can be created. … Read more

What is a GST Withholding Form? Do I need it for my property sale?

If you are selling property, you may be obligated to notify Purchasers to withhold an amount (i.e. GST) from the purchase price on the contract to be paid to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). This can apply to some residential properties and potential residential land. Failure to notify is a strict liability offence that may lead to … Read more

What does “subject to Building and Pest Inspection” mean?

Building and Pest Inspections identify any defects within a property and the risks that may evolve from those defects. They are useful for identifying the condition of the property, which provide insight on the desirability and value of the property being purchased.  Why should I include a “subject to a Building and Pest Inspection” clause?  … Read more

Federal Budget 2022-2023

To address the continuing challenges faced by first home buyer Australians breaking into the property market, the Federal Government has announced in its Federal Budget 2022-2023 several measures to ease entry barriers.    Continued Incentives Family Home Guarantee The scheme aims to support single parents with dependent children in purchasing a family home. Eligible buyers will … Read more

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First home buyers: have you heard about the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme? No, it’s not the First Home Owners Grant!  

As property prices keep hitting new records, it becomes harder for people to buy their first home. Fortunately, the government has announced numerous grants and schemes assisting first home buyers to save for their first property. The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme is one of these.  What is the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme?  The … Read more

wealthsource writing a will

When should I start thinking about writing a Will?

While this is a sensitive topic and you may be hesitant asking your friends and family, having a plan is important for peace of mind. Here we address some of the common reasons people put off preparing their Will.  ‘I don’t have any assets’  It’s not unusual for many to believe that they don’t have … Read more

looking develop land

Looking to develop your land? Here are 4 things to look out for 

Purchasing a block of land is an exciting process to bring to life your dream home on a blank canvas. However, we have seen mistakes you can try to avoid. In addition to planning permit requirements and specific regulations, there are various other means by which property development can be restricted, including the following:   Easements  … Read more

homebuyer fund

How the Homebuyer Fund can help you purchase your home  

Saving for a 10-20% deposit is challenging with increasing property prices. To address this issue and create more opportunities for home ownership for low to medium income earners, the Victorian Government launched the Homebuyer Fund in October 2021.   What is the Homebuyer Fund?   The Homebuyer Fund is a shared equity scheme that permits the Victorian … Read more

wealthsource PEXA

Do I attend settlement myself? What is PEXA? 

There was a time when Australian settlements had to be conducted in person at a set location. This usually involved long hours sorting through numerous papers to finalise documents. Now, legal representatives and financial institutions are able to attend virtually to complete all types of settlements. This is done through the digital property platform PEXA. … Read more

pool spa regulations

How the new regulations on swimming pools and spas may affect you 

Since 01 December 2019, there are new laws requiring all property owners to erect safety barriers for their pool and spa. Here are some important things you need to know:  Victorian Building Authority (VBA) requirements  Does my pool or spa require building the barriers?  For pools and spas with water depth of or more than … Read more

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Common contractual conditions property purchasers should include

A Contract of Sale is typically prepared by the Seller’s representative, and it is no surprise that a substantial number of clauses will favour the Seller. It is important for Buyers to obtain advice before signing the Contract of Sale. The Contract of Sale together with the Section 32 Vendor Statement are the most important … Read more

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