Did you know there could be caveats lurking in the property deal you’re about to enter into?
Caveats are literally warnings (caveat means ‘beware’) placed on certificates of title to alert you to the fact that parties other than the owner you’re dealing with, might have a legal interest or claim in the property.
If you miss them, they can be costly or disruptive, which is why we are always urging people to work with their conveyancer as early as possible and, preferably, build an ongoing relationship with one; it can be a prudent move.
A caveat by any other name
Some caveats are straightforward declarations issued by banks and lenders, stating their interest in a property due to the mortgage they hold.
Another common situation in which caveats are issued relates to the breakdown of marriages or de facto relationships in which property is held in one party’s name and the second party issues a caveat to stop it being sold or encumbered (used as equity in new loans, etc).
Beware the caveats of March
Giving caveats a little Shakespearian treatment might seem overly dramatic, but they form an important and serious part of our real estate sector.
The laws and protocols around caveats, and the lodging and lifting of caveats, have high stakes in which parties involved can be liable for damages if correct procedures are not followed.
So whether you need to issue a lapsing notice to have a caveat removed, or need help in lodging a caveat, talk to your conveyancer and they will be able to help you prepare paperwork and liaise with your lawyer where appropriate.
But prepare to make yourself readily available during these processes as regulations set very strict timelines for processing these matters and your conveyancer will need more access to you than usual.
One thing is for certain, having a professional conveyancer by your side will be a wise move for protecting yourself against nasty surprises lurking in the shadows of real estate paperwork.