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

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