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Real Estate

On this page

Buying or Selling a Property

Buying or selling a home is an important event. You are entering into a significant contract. The contract and documentation you are asked to sign may seem simple, but beware. Before signing the contract, make sure you understand what you are signing.

See a lawyer for advice if you have any concerns or if the contract involves any special provisions.

If your are buying the property for business or as an investment then you should speak to your accountant at an early stage. There are many factors to be weighed up in deciding which name to buy a property in and whether something like a Trust may be more suitable.

The Office of Fair Trading has information for the public on these topics:

Lawyers and Property Issues

If you are unsure, a lawyer can advise you on your rights and obligations under a Contract. Sometimes important conditions are easy to miss if you do not have a trained eye.

The vendor's statement will contain information you, as a purchaser will seek to rely on. A lawyer can check this information for you and advise you of your rights if the information provided by the vendor is untrue or if the vendor has failed to disclose any information that it is compelled to disclose.

A lawyer can take your directions about what you want to happen under the contract and can negotiate contractual terms favourable to you.

A lawyer can make sure that legislation has been complied with and conduct relevant searches.

Taking a proactive approach and getting legal advice before signing a contract is always the safest and most sensible way to go.

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Acts, Regulations, Rules & Forms

Are you looking for detailed information like this, or contact details for any of the bodies mentioned on this page. If so, then start on our Property Law for Lawyers page.

If it isn't there, then start on our Finding Detailed Legal Information page.

Please read our warning on that page "Be careful using these resources".

The Law is not always as straightforward as it appears. We have not included any information about when and how to use that information or any traps. We assume that the Lawyers will know this.

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Leases

On occasion, a dispute may arise between a tenant and their landlord. Lawyers help people with these kinds of disputes on a regular basis. If you find yourself involved in a dispute, you may need some legal advice. Take along a copy of the lease in question to the meeting with your lawyer. He or she can then read through the lease and advise you.

Often it is not just a question of what is in the lease, and answers are to be found in other areas of the law. If necessary, your lawyer can write to the tenant or landlord, or arrange a meeting to try and find a resolution.

Some areas that often lead to problems involve terminating the lease, the obligations of the parties at the end of the lease and rights of renewal and other options. The law on leases is quite strict and it is important to comply with dates and send notices exactly as the lease says.

Disputes about property leases, whether it is a residence or commercial premises, are dealt with the the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT.

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Tenants Union

www.tuq.org.au

The Tenants' Union of Queensland represents the interests of residential tenants in Queensland. The Union aims to improve and protect the rights of all people who rent their home including boarding house and caravan park residents.

Statewide advice: 1300 744 263

Brisbane Office

28 Robertson Street
Fortitude Valley

Fraser Coast

5/16 Torquay Road
Pialba

North Queensland

208 McLeod Street
Cairns

Caveats

A caveat is a formal notice to the registered proprietor of land (i.e. the owner) that the person registering the caveat (the caveator) claims a legal or beneficial interest in the land.

The caveat prevents the owner of the land from selling the land until the caveator's interest has been determined by the parties involved, or by the Court.

Contrary to popular belief, for a caveat to be registered on someone's property, the caveator must have a direct interest in the land. For instance, you cannot try and recover a general debt by registering a caveat on the debtor's land, unless the debtor has given you the right to do so. However, if you have contributed to the purchase of land, or have improved the land physically somehow, you may have a caveatable interest in the land.

See your lawyer if you need advice in this area.

Protecting Your Environment

The Environmental Defenders Office has published a range of EDO Fact Sheets on Planning and Environmental Issues.Environmental Defenders Offices of Australia which is a tool to assist citizens in enforcing environmental law.

From 1 November 2010 most sellers or lessors of office space of 2,000 square metres or more will be required to obtain and disclose an up-to-date energy efficiency rating. Certain exceptions and exemptions apply.

See Commercial Building Disclosure for more information.


Engaging a Real Estate Agent

Most people choose to have a real estate agent to sell their land. Some concerns to keep in mind on this subject:

  • Make sure you completely understand the basis on which the agent is to be retained and the terms of the agency agreement.
  • Do the terms of the agency create a sole agency, auction or general authority to sell?
  • How is the agent's commission going to be calculated? Don't be afraid to try to negotiate terms to suit your requirements.
  • Check out whether you are responsible for additional expenses like advertising and if there is a fixed amount or limit on the amount you need to pay.

The Office of Fair Trading has information about the legal requirements of real estate agents.

Objecting to Council Rates

If you believe the valuation of your property is incorrect in comparison to sales of similar properties in your area then you have the right to object to object.

Neighbours

Legal Aid has information on a range of Neighbourhood issues including pets, fences, noise, trees and trespass.

There are special procedures for resolving Tree, Fence and Building Disputes. See also the information provided by QCAT.

Planning Issues

There are a range of options available to help you resolve any disputes involving planning or building issues. See the Planning and Environment Court Mediation.

Retirement Villages

Information on Retirement Villages has general information for the public.

QCAT deals with issues concerning retirement villages. If they cannot help resolve a dispute, they can hear and determine applications about disputes between the retirement village operator and one or more residents.

Some early termination fees for loans made to enter a Retirement Village may no longer be enforceable. Seek legal advice.

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Community Information