New Form of Residential Tenancies Act (Part 1)

There’s been amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and new Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019 which commenced on 23 March 2020.

The purpose of the changes are to improve the tenants’ renting experience while ensuring landlords can improve management of their properties.

The aim of the changes are:-

* to assist with reducing disputes over repairs and maintenance,
* increase protection and certainty for tenants, and;
* clarify the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords.

One of these changes is a new form of Residential Tenancy Agreement and Condition report to be used for agreements entered into from 23 March 2020.… Read More

Notification of new address details after selling your property

So you have sold your house and moving to a new property, who do I need to notify?

First, you should contact Australia Post and complete the mail redirection form to have any mail redirected to your new address. This redirection can be for a period of 1, 3, 6 or 12 months. You also need to ensure everyone in the household will be covered under the redirection form.

Some government departments like Roads & Maritime Services and the Firearms Registry have requirements that you need to advise them within 14 days of your change of address.

The other organisations/businesses you need to advise of your change of address are:-

• Roads & Maritime Services for your driver’s licence, vehicle/trailer/caravan and boat registrations
• Firearms Registry
• Services Australia: – Centrelink, Medicare, Child Support Agency
• Department of Veterans’ Affairs
• Australian Taxation Office
• Electoral Commission
• Recreational Fishing Licence

• Bank/Credit Union/Financial Institution
• Insurance providers
• Company Share registries
• Tradesperson/professional licence i.e.… Read More

What is land tax?

Land tax is levied by NSW Government on 31 December each year on all property you own that is above the land tax threshold.

Generally, you don’t pay land tax on your home, known as your principal place of residence or your farm, known as primary production land. There are further exemptions which cannot be dealt with in this article.

You pay tax based on the combined value of all taxable land you own, not on each individual property. If the combined value of your land does not exceed the threshold, no land tax is payable.

For 2020 tax year, the general threshold is $734,000.… Read More

Dealing with the Australian Taxation Office (“ATO”) after someone has died?

Initially, you need to establish if the deceased person had a Will, to determine who the executor is, that is who can manage the Estate.

Next, has a grant of probate been obtained by the executor? If no, you will need to provide further information to the ATO if you wish to establish authority to deal with the tax affairs of the deceased person. If probate has been granted, then the executor has authority to notify the ATO of the person’s death and deal with their tax affairs.

Notifying the ATO of the person’s death can be in paper by completing a “Notification of a deceased person” form with a certified copy of the Death Certificate and Will and submitting it by mail.… Read More

When does bank finance “approval” mean approved?

You’ve been saving hard and have the deposit to purchase your first home. You’ve looked at many houses and finally found the one. You’ve made an offer through the real estate agent and your offer has been accepted by the vendor.

You organise your pest and building reports. You know your finance is arranged as you’ve been pre-approved by your chosen lender. WRONG!

A pre-approval of finance from a lender is only an “indication” of the amount the lender considers you may borrow based on your previous financial circumstances. Until you receive written confirmation of finance approval from your lender noting the details of the house you intend to purchase and sign a loan contract, the lender is under no obligation to provide you with finance.… Read More

Are you renting out your property and need a plumber?

If you are renting out your property, your property is likely to need maintenance from time to time. You may consider a handyman or woman to do the “easy jobs” like replacing tap washers or taps, repairing or replacing leaking toilets and cisterns as a good low cost alternative to engaging a licensed contractor.

However, when hiring someone to do any plumbing work, you must make sure they hold a current licence.  Only a qualified and licensed plumber and/or drainer can legally undertake repairs such as but not limited to:-

  • Replacing tap washes or taps
  • Repairing or replacing leaking toilets and cisterns
  • Repairing or replacing a hot water service
  • Repairing water leaks
  • Clearing or repairing blocked sewer lines

Any person doing plumbing repairs for a payment who is not suitably licensed is breaking the law and can be fined $1,100.00.… Read More

What is probate and when do I need it? – Suzanne Hindmarsh

A Grant of Probate is a document issued by the Supreme Court that acknowledges the validity of the deceased’s Will and authorises the Executor/s to administer the Estate.

Whether or not Probate is required depends on the nature and value of the deceased’s assets.

If the deceased held land in their sole name or as tenants in common with another, Probate will be required.

Financial institutions, superannuation funds, aged care facilities and share registries may also require Probate for larger investments before they will allow those assets to be dealt with. Generally, such institutions will require Probate if the amount held with them is greater than $50,000.00.… Read More

The implications of incorrectly spelling your name!!

SMHQuite often I come across sellers, testators and mortgagors wherein their names are incomplete or otherwise different from their identification documents (ID) i.e. driver’s licence, passport, birth certificate and marriage certificate (if applicable).

The spelling of your name is critical when preparing any legal documents for example your Will, Power of Attorney, Appointment of Enduring Guardian, sale and purchase of land contracts, mortgages and transferring shares.

These discrepancies can result in delays finalising your property transaction, in some cases breach of contract, issues with selling your shares and can result in increased transaction costs, delay and frustration.

There are many reasons for the inconsistencies, however the most common are:-

  1. Anglicised names (which buyers/sellers/shareholders may commonly go by in day to day life) are not always the same names as reflected on their legal ID documents
  2. Marriage (or breakdown of marriage) where the seller has changed their name since purchasing the property or shares
  3. Missing middle names, which buyer/seller/shareholder may not use all the time, accidently being omitted from the legal documents i.e.
Read More

What is Electronic Conveyancing? Suzanne Hindmarsh

SMHAs some of you may be aware, land transactions have been moving over to an electronic platform called PEXA. This involves the settlement and registration of a land transaction into the new owners and mortgagee’s name, instantaneously on settlement.

It is anticipated that by 1 July 2019, electronic settlements will be compulsory in NSW.

All paper titles of land held by about 150 banks were converted to electronic certificates of title called eCT’s in September this year. The conversion of the titles was undertaken by the banks and other financial institutions, the NSW Land Registry Services and the legal and conveyancing peak bodies with many people working behind the scenes for months.… Read More

The deceased estate time line – Suzanne Hindmarsh

I’m frequently asked what steps need to be taken when someone dies and how long will it take?

SMHThe usual steps are:-

  • Evidence of death is required. In most cases, this is a death/funeral notice published in the local newspaper.
  • The death certificate is required. This certificate takes about 4 – 6 weeks to be issued by Births Deaths Marriages and provided to the executor/Estate’s solicitor.
  • The funeral account can be paid from the deceased’s bank account if sufficient funds are available.
  • We advise the relevant asset/liability holders of the death and provide certified copies of the death certificate. They provide us with details of the deceased’s accounts and their requirements to release the assets/liabilities of the Estate.
Read More