Our conveyancing and property law experience is extensive, having worked with numerous individuals, farmers, small businesses, and corporate clients assisting them across a broad range of property law matters.
What is conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the process of transferring the legal title of real estate from one party to another, whether it be residential or commercial property, a farming enterprise, rural or vacant land. As one of the largest financial transactions many of us will make in our lifetime, it makes sense to get expert advice from an experienced lawyer.
Conveyancing involves an intricate knowledge of property law and an understanding of all the processes involved from contract review through to completion. The complexity of such transactions can often be under-estimated.
Signing a contract to buy or sell property creates binding obligations between the parties – the penalties for default can be significant so it is important to understand the legal implications before entering such arrangements. The transfer of property may trigger other considerations such as capital gains tax, land tax and transfer duty, which should be factored into the transaction.
Fixed Fee Conveyancing
We can help with all stages of Queensland property transactions for homes, units, vacant blocks, commercial real estate, or rural property, including:
- reviewing, negotiating, and advising on sale of land contracts
- sustainability declarations, disclosure, and warning statements
- auction contracts and purchases off-the-plan
- transfer duty liabilities and concessions / First Home Owners’ Grant
- tax considerations and asset protection including Capital Gains Tax
- sales or purchases by companies, family and discretionary trusts, self-managed superannuation funds, and deceased estates
- property tenancy including joint tenants and tenants in common
- liaising with financial institutions about deposit bonds, loans, mortgages and discharges of mortgages
- preparing and registering Powers of Attorney
- advice regarding easements and covenants on title searches
Ownership interests in property
The way in which a legal interest is held in property is an important consideration.
A joint tenancy is subject to survivorship provisions – when one joint owner dies, the other automatically inherits the deceased person’s share which cannot be left to anybody else, even by contrary terms in a Will. While joint tenancies are generally appropriate for domestic partners, this may not always be the case.
Property held as tenants in common can specify the individual shares held by each owner (for example 50/50 or 30/70). In such cases a co-owner can transfer, sell, or leave his or her share to a beneficiary.
It is important to obtain legal advice regarding property co-ownership to prevent unintended outcomes in estate planning and protect interests should future disputes arise triggered by matters such as financial stress or breakdowns in personal or business relationships.
An easement is a right to use property belonging to someone else in a certain way. The easement may be a private easement, such as a strip of land giving neighboring landowners access to their property, or a public easement, like an easement for the maintenance of sewerage or electricity services. Easements can affect the value, use and future development of land and should be fully investigated during a property transaction.
An encroachment occurs when a building or fixture from a property intrudes onto adjoining land. While a few hanging tree branches may be easy to fix, significant encroachments like structures that have been incorrectly built over a boundary can affect the use, enjoyment, and value of a person’s property. These issues can result in disputes between landowners which can be negotiated and resolved with the assistance of a property lawyer.
Buying rural property
The sale and purchase of farms and rural properties requires special consideration. Farms are unique and the transaction may involve not only the sale of the physical land and structures, but other assets relating to the business of the farming enterprise such as crops, stock, plant, and machinery.
When buying rural property, you should ensure that its intended purpose is allowed under its zoning and by council, and that any proposed farming activities are feasible. Various issues can hinder your farming enterprise such as the presence of chemical residues, livestock and plant diseases, noxious weeds, and animals.
Government bodies will play a role in answering enquiries about these issues. We have extensive knowledge and experience in rural property transactions and can recommend the relevant searches and enquiries before a contract is entered to minimise the risk of issues affecting the land and your proposed activities.
Plant, equipment, and livestock to be included in the sale should be listed in an inventory attached to the contract. As these assets form part of the farming enterprise, the parties may need to be advised regarding how the price should be apportioned.
Agricultural leases and agistment agreements
Agricultural leases concern the rights for a person or enterprise to use land for production, harvesting or the farming of produce. These leases may also provide for the use of buildings and shelters on the subject land.
Agistment agreements are important considerations for farming enterprises, whether dealing with ongoing climate conditions such as drought, or as an alternative way to run stock without the overheads of purchasing additional land.
Rural arrangements such as these are common within a farming enterprise and should be legally documented in a binding agreement which sets out the respective rights and responsibilities of the parties.