Reports in the Preston Leader of Reservoir property owner, Greg Goldenberg gaining title to a discontinued laneway under adverse possession laws demonstrates that successful outcomes are possible despite the need to tiptoe through a legal minefield (click here for the article).
VCAT Review of Assessment
When industrial land is known to have been filled in an uncontrolled manner over many years and there are concerns that it might contain some contaminated material, to what extent should its value be reduced?
That was the question that confronted a client of Aitken Partners. Its significance was that a reduction in value would reduce the amount of land tax (and rates) payable.
Aitken Partners has successfully applied for the variation of two single-dwelling restrictive covenants affecting a double-block in Altona. As a result of an Order of the Supreme Court made on 4 November, the client is now free to apply for a planning permit to erect up to a total of 6 town houses.
There is a wonderful scene in the film “A Beautiful Mind”, where Alicia, the wife of mathematician John Nash stumbles into a shed, the walls of which are covered with snippets, parcels of information joined by a spider’s web of inter-connected threads, linking one idea with the next, containing a mass of factual information, rules and exceptions – an imbroglio of incomprehensible, inter-related fact.
Amendments to the Sale of Land Act require changes to be made to the form of and information contained in Vendor Statements required to be given to purchasers before the sale of real estate. The changes commenced on 1 October 2014.
If the real estate is vacant residential land or land on which there is a residence the selling agent or the vendor where there is no selling agent must provide to a purchaser a due diligence check list. The check list is available on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.
99.9% of clients accept that when purchasing ‘off the plan’ there will be a (stamp) duty saving. Only a few check the amount of the saving when settlement comes around. A recent Aitken Partners’ file demonstrates the advantage of doing so.
Statements attributed to the Premier that, “We will be fair and compassionate in dealing with people who are affected” and “We want to make sure they are properly and fully compensated” are to be applauded. They also lead to scepticism – who exactly are the people affected and what is proper and full compensation?
Documents in property transactions are not overly complicated or sophisticated. Normally they can be read and understood by anyone patient enough to plough through them. In many cases however, understanding what is there is only half the challenge – you also need to know what should be there but isn’t.
There are times when clients focus only on getting the deal done. Afterwards they can become acutely aware that there are (stamp) duty consequences if a deal is done the wrong way. Involving a lawyer in the deal making process can often be cost-effective. Introducing one later to help ‘clean up the mess,’ will sometimes suffice.
Sometimes lawyers are asked to step in at the last moment to help purchasers who have not sought proper legal advice before committing to the biggest purchase of their lives.
One instance that comes to mind was the purchase of a property down the Peninsula. The Vendor’s Statement included a Title Plan. However no-one explained to the Purchasers the significance of the note ‘E-1’ on the Title Plan. E-1 was in fact a sewerage easement 10 feet wide that ran down one side of the property - over which the carport has been built.
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