Council has a sewer/water main on my property but no easement?

We are often asked whether a local council requires an easement for its water and sewer pipes to remain on a person’s private land and further whether council is entitled to enter upon the private land to carry out repairs and works on that infrastructure.

The Local Government Act provides the answer in respect of storm water works, sewer and water supply works.

Section 59A of the Local Government Act provides that Council is the owner of all works of water supply, sewerage and storm water drainage installed in or on land by the council, whether or not the land is owned by council.… Read More

Is the sale of farmland GST free?

The answer is sometimes.

Where a farming enterprise has been carried on a rural property, for a minimum of 5 years and where the purchaser intends to carry on a farming operation, then generally the sale will be exempt from payment of GST.

A recent matter highlighted the importance of ensuring that each transaction is examined on its facts and generalisations such as the above rule, are not adopted on a wholesale basis.

The facts: The sellers had operated a farming enterprise (sheep) on their property for many years. They had agreed to sell 15 acres from their rural property to a Purchaser.… Read More

Conveyancing Terminology

Buying or selling real estate is an exciting prospect. The actual process of transferring ownership in land can be quite daunting for many people. Sometimes a buyer/seller of property has difficulty understanding conveyancing terms their solicitor/conveyancer uses.

The following are some commonly used terms you will encounter when buying or selling property in NSW:-

Vendor: the owner of the property

Purchaser: the buyer of the property

Mortgagee: the Bank providing monies to a person for the purchase of property

Mortgagor: the person borrowing the money from the Bank to purchase the property

Offer: The price the purchaser puts to the vendor (usually through a real estate agent) for the property.… Read More

Property Purchase – Is a Survey Report an additional cost or a cost-saving?

There are various enquiries and inspections you should consider undertaking when purchasing a property. One of those is a Survey Report.

What is a Survey Report?

A Survey Report is obtained from a surveyor to establish that the improvements you wish to buy are actually located on the land you are buying and also to establish if there are any encroachments by improvements onto other properties or by improvements onto the land you are buying. A further purpose is to demonstrate that the house is positioned on the land in order to comply with Council’s set back requirements from the boundaries.… Read More

Your Certificate of Title and Identity Fraud

What is a Certificate of Title or eCT?

If you are a home owner, your Certificate of Title (land title deed) is an instrument executed by the Registrar General at the Land Registry Services, and is evidence of your ownership of your property. In 2018, all paper Certificates of Title held by the banks were converted to electronic certificates of title called eCT’s.

Where is the Certificate of Title normally kept?

If your property is mortgaged, your eCT is held by the mortgagee – the person or entity who lent the money to you, for example the Bank.
If you do not have a mortgage, your paper Certificate of Title should be kept in a safe place, for example:

• With your solicitor
• In a safe deposit with the Bank
• In a safe place with your other personal papers

What happens if a Certificate of Title is destroyed or misplaced?Read More

Oh no, where has my money gone! Cybersecurity in property transactions.

With the increased use of online services across all areas of our lives, cybersecurity is extremely important. Particularly in conveyancing transactions where large amounts of money are transferred between accounts.

Email phishing is of particular concern and requires that we all be extra vigilant in dealing with email communications. Phishing is where a criminal impersonates an organisation in order to steal or alter important information.

For example, let’s say you have a property purchase coming up and have been liaising with your solicitor via email. Your email may have already been hacked without your knowledge and the hackers have been tracking those emails.… Read More

Helping First Home Buyers to achieve the Australian dream

From time to time the government seeks to stimulate the economy by offering grants and exemptions to entice us to dip our toes into the property market. First Home buyers have been the traditional beneficiaries of these grants, with the original First Home Owner Grant being introduced in July 2000 in an attempt to negate the effect on the property market of the newly introduced GST. Since that time there have been numerous schemes with similar names helping first home buyers realise the Australian dream of property ownership.

Eligible first home buyers can currently apply for two schemes – one that provides a grant of $10,000, and the other an exemption or concession from stamp duty.… Read More

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