Renewable Energy Projects – Part 2 What Payments do Landowners Receive from the Developers?

Under an Option Deed and a Lease Agreement, the most common payments are the option fee and the rent. There are other types of payments such as reimbursement of legal costs and fees for grant of easements, but this article will only focus on the option fee and the rent.

Option Fee

In consideration of the landowner’s grant of an option to lease/purchase the land, the developer will pay an option fee to the landowner annually during the option period (e.g. 4 years). Typically, for the purpose of conducting investigations on the land, it is quite common that during the option period contractors for the developer will access the land with equipment to conduct different types of tests.… Read More

Time is running out for Home Builders

Part of the government’s response to the economic downturn caused by Covid-19 has been to encourage spending in certain sectors. The building industry have been given a lifeline via the Homebuilder scheme, which encourages eligible home owners to renovate their existing home, buy a new home off the plan or build a new home.

The scheme was to finish at the end of 2020, but has now been extended to 31 March 2021 with an amended grant amount and conditions.

The grant you will receive depends on when you entered into your building Contract and applications must be submitted by 14 April 2021.… Read More

Postponed Rates: A trap for the unaware

If you have bought or sold a property in the last few years, then you may have had a conversation with your Solicitor about postponed rates. If not, you probably haven’t heard of them.

The truth is postponed rates are not generally well understood, but there are consequences if they are not dealt with appropriately during a sale or purchase of property.

So what are postponed rates?

Postponed rates are a charge that Councils can levy over property.

Where you have land that is zoned commercial, industrial, residential flat building or it is permitted under a plan to be further subdivided, this land attracts higher Council rates.… Read More

Beware! Family trusts to be charged surcharge land tax and stamp duty.

The State Revenue Legislation Further Amendment Act of 2020 has received Royal Assent.

In short, the Act indicates that any discretionary trust or family trust or testamentary trust that owns or will purchase residential property, may be subject to surcharge land tax and surcharge stamp duty.

This means that if a discretionary/family/testamentary trust is purchasing residential property, it will be charged an additional 8% of the market value of a property by way of surcharge stamp duty.

In addition, surcharge land tax over and above the standard rate, is increased by 2% on the unimproved value of the land.

Land tax is particularly nasty as it is levied each year on the 31 December.… Read More

Renewable Energy Projects (Part 1) What Documents are Typically Entered into by Landowners and Developers?

Renewable energy is booming in Australia. Data recently released by the Clean Energy Regulator suggests 6.3 gigawatts of total renewable energy capacity is expected to be delivered in 2020 – roughly equivalent in capacity to four large coal plants.

Wind farms and solar farms are usually located on cleared primary production land. In addition to wind turbines or solar arrays, developers also require certain area of land for access roads, transmission line easements and electrical substations.

Typical Documents

If a landowner is approached by a developer, the landowner will be provided with an Initial Licence Agreement (optional) and an Option Deed during the early stages of development, leading to an eventual Lease Agreement and/or Contract for Sale of Land once the development is approved by the authority and the option is exercised by the developer.… Read More

Residential Tenancies Act – Water Efficiency Measures (Part 7)

 

There have been amendments as to what water efficiency measures a landlord needs to undertake under Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and new Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019 which commenced on 23 March 2020

Before a landlord is able to pass on water usage charges to the tenant, the residential property must be separately metered, meet the water efficiency measures prescribed by the Residential Tenancies Act, and the charges must not exceed the amount payable by the landlord (according to the water supplier’s bill or other evidence).

The changes provide additional water efficiency measures, including all taps and toilets on the property need to be checked at the start of a tenancy so any leaks are fixed.… Read More

Residential Tenancies Act – Break fees payable by tenant (Part 6)

ReThere are new break fees payable by a tenant who wishes to break a fixed term lease under Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and new Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019 which commenced on 23 March 2020

Mandatory break fees apply to all fixed-term agreements of 3 years or less, when a tenant ends the agreement early. This applies to agreements that are entered into from 23 March 2020.

The break fees are:

• 4 weeks rent if less than 25 per cent of the agreement has expired
• 3 weeks rent if 25 per cent or more but less than 50 per cent of the agreement has expired
• 2 weeks rent if 50 per cent or more but less than 75 per cent of the agreement has expired
• 1 weeks rent if 75 per cent or more of the agreement has expired

For example:

• If 7 months of a 12 month tenancy agreement (or 58 per cent) has expired, a tenant would need to pay a fee equal to 2 weeks rent to the landlord to end the agreement early
• If 2 months of a 6 month tenancy agreement (or 33 per cent) has expired, the tenant would need to pay a fee equal to 3 weeks rent to the landlord to end their agreement early

If you need assistance with any property or land matters contact Everingham Solomons because Helping You is Our Business.Read More

Residential Tenancies Act – Tenants damage and modifications (Part 5)

There have been amendments as to what constitutes damage and the rules regarding removing modifications under Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and new Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019 which commenced on 23 March 2020

Tenants are responsible for any damage they cause to the property.

At the end of the tenancy, a tenant is responsible for leaving the property in the same condition as at the start of the tenancy, except fair, wear and tear. This includes making sure any alterations, additions or renovations are removed and also fixing any damage caused to the property. A tenant can choose whether to remove any ‘fixtures’ they have installed, provided they repair or compensate the landlord for any damage caused by removing the fixture.… Read More

Residential Tenancies Act – Can a tenant alter the premises? (Part 4)

There have been amendments as to what constitutes alterations of a ‘minor nature’ under Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and new Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019 which commenced on 23 March 2020.

The new Regulation lists the kind of fixtures, alterations, additions or renovations that are ‘minor’. Some examples are:

• securing furniture to a non-tiled wall for safety reasons
• fitting a childproof latch to an outdoor gate of a single dwelling, installing child safety gates inside the property or window safety devices
• installing/replacing an internal window covering e.g. curtains, removable blinds, installing cleats/cord guides to secure blind/curtain cords
• installing a wireless removable outdoor security camera
• applying shatter-resistant film to window/glass doors
• planting vegetables, flowers, herbs or shrubs (shrubs that don’t grow more than 2 metres) in the garden if existing vegetation/plants do not need to be removed
• installing hand-held shower heads/lever-style taps to assist elderly or disabled occupants.… Read More

Residential Tenancies Act – Smoke Alarm Obligations (Part 3)

There are new smoke alarm obligations for landlords and tenants under Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and new Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019 which commenced on 23 March 2020.

Landlords need to ensure smoke alarms installed in a rented property are in working order.

Under the new Regulation, a landlord must repair/replace a battery-operated or hardwired smoke alarm and:

• carry out annual checks to ensure all smoke alarms installed at the property are in working order
• replace a removable battery in all smoke alarms in the period specified by the smoke alarm manufacturer (for a removable lithium battery) or otherwise annually
• repair/replace a smoke alarm that is not working within 2 business days of becoming aware that it is not working
• provide more than an hour’s notice to the tenant to replace or carry out repairs to the smoke alarm
• replace a smoke alarm with a new smoke alarm within 10 years from the manufactured date, or earlier if specified by the smoke alarm manufacturer.… Read More