With the recent growth of Gold Coast’s infrastructure and economy, residential and commercial property disputes are a common occurrence. If you are currently in a residential or commercial property dispute, the litigation and dispute resolution team at Ramsden Lawyers are here to assist you in achieving your desired goal.
How can property disputes arise?
Conflicting equitable interests in land;
Acquisition and adverse possession;
Retail leasing disputes; and
Other interests in land disputes.
A dispute that we see frequently is where party X has made an equitable contribution to a property for purposes such as mortgage repayments or building fit outs, but upon the sale of the property, party X realizes that they do not have a registered interest in the property.
To protect our client’s interest in these circumstances, we would consider lodging a caveat over the property.
What is a caveat?
Lodging a caveat over a property, subject to some exceptions, has the effect of prohibiting the registration of any other instrument or document on title which would effect the interest of the person lodging the caveat (the ‘caveator’). Basically, lodging a caveat stops any person ‘dealing’ with the property, such as selling the property or placing a mortgage on the property until the caveat is withdrawn, removed, cancelled or lapses.
A caveat will lapse 3 months from when it is lodged unless the caveator files proceedings in a court seeking orders that the caveator has an interest in the caveated property.
To lodge a caveat over a property, you must show that you have a caveatable interest in the property.
What amounts to a caveatable interest?
As mentioned in the earlier scenario, many property disputes involve contributions to a property where the person making the contributions is not the registered owner on title. These contributions may amount to what is called an ‘equitable interest’ in the property which can be protected by a caveat.
Equitable contributions include payments to the mortgage over the property or contributions to renovations or advancements of the property.
How we can help?
If you’re involved in a property dispute and you want to determine if you may have an caveatable interest in a property or have made equitable contributions to a property, please contact our Gold Coast office to arrange a consultation with one of our litigation lawyers.