How To Put A Caveat On A Property: A Step-by-Step Guide

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A caveat stops someone from selling, transferring or encumbering property. It is a type of injunction that is typically used to protect the interests of a person or organization who has a financial claim against the property.

To put a caveat on a property, you will need to:

  1. Obtain a caveat form from the registry of titles in your state or territory.
  2. Complete the caveat form with the required information, including the name of the property owner(s), the address, and the reason for lodging the caveat.
  3. Pay the caveat fee.
  4. Lodge the caveat form with the registry of titles.

Who Can Lodge a Caveat on a Property?

A caveat can be lodged on a property’s title to protect the interest of a person or entity, not the registered owner. 

The types of interests that a caveat can protect are typically those that are part of an agreement involving the property. The following parties may have the right to lodge a caveat:

  • Beneficiaries of a Trust: If a property is held in a trust and you are a beneficiary, you may be able to lodge a caveat to protect your interest.
  • Buyers Under a Contract of Sale: If you have entered into a contract to purchase a property, you can lodge a caveat to protect your interest until the settlement is complete and the title has been transferred to your name.
  • Lenders: If you have lent someone money and the loan is secured by a property, you can lodge a caveat to ensure the property is not sold without your knowledge and that you are paid out of the proceeds of any sale.
  • Spouses or Domestic Partners: In cases of a relationship breakdown, a spouse or domestic partner may lodge a caveat on a property to protect their interests during property settlement negotiations.
  • Investors in a Joint Venture: If the property is part of a joint venture agreement, participants may lodge a caveat to secure their investment.
  • Leaseholders: If you lease a property for a term exceeding three years, you may be entitled to lodge a caveat to secure your leasehold interest.
  • Unregistered Owners: If you have an equitable interest in a property (such as through a part-performance of a contract for sale), you can lodge a caveat.
  • Construction Contractors: Under certain circumstances, such as a dispute about payment, contractors or builders may lodge a caveat based on a contractual right.
  • Other Claimants: If you believe you are interested in a property because of an inheritance, court judgment, or further legal proceedings, you may lodge a caveat.

It’s important to note that the laws surrounding property and caveats can vary between states and territories in Australia. 

Also read: Understanding Property Ownership: Joint Tenants vs Tenants in Common in Australia

What Information is Required to Lodge a Caveat?

The information required to lodge a caveat will vary depending on the jurisdiction in which you are located. However, some general pieces of information are typically required, including:

  • Your name and address
  • The name(s) of the property owner(s)
  • The address of the property
  • The reason for lodging the caveat
  • A declaration that you have a genuine interest in the property

In some jurisdictions, you may also be required to provide additional information, such as:

  • A copy of your title deed or other documentation to prove your interest in the property
  • The amount of money owed to you, if you are lodging the caveat as a creditor
  • The terms of a court order, if you are lodging the caveat to protect your rights under a court order

It is important to note that the information you provide must be accurate and complete. If your caveat contains only some of the required information, it may be accepted by the registrar of titles.

Need a Lawyer?

Do I Need a Property Lawyer or Conveyancer in Lodging Caveats?

Whether or not you need a property lawyer or conveyancer in lodging caveats depends on your circumstances.

If you are comfortable with the process and have all the necessary information, you can lodge the caveat yourself.

However, there are a few reasons why it may be beneficial to engage a professional:

  • To ensure that you are eligible to lodge a caveat. Certain requirements must be met to lodge a caveat. A lawyer or conveyancer can help you determine whether you are eligible to lodge a caveat and ensure that you meet all of the requirements.
  • To prepare the caveat form correctly. The caveat form must be completed correctly to be valid. A lawyer or conveyancer can help you prepare the caveat form accurately and ensure all the required information is included.
  • To advise you on the legal implications of lodging a caveat. There are several legal implications to consider before lodging a caveat. A lawyer or conveyancer can advise you on these implications and help you to make an informed decision about whether or not to lodge a caveat.
  • To represent you in court if necessary. If the property owner challenges your caveat, you may need to court. A lawyer or conveyancer can represent you in court and help you to protect your interests.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to engage a lawyer or conveyancer in lodging a caveat is a personal one.

How Long Does A Caveat Last in QLD?

The duration of a caveat isn’t fixed and depends on several factors. Most caveats lapse within 14 days to three months after being lodged.

However, the caveator (the person who lodged the caveat) can take legal action to extend the caveat’s effect until a court rules on their claimed interest in the property.

Conversely, the caveatee (the property owner) can issue a notice demanding the caveator start court proceedings within 14 days to prove their interest; otherwise, the caveat will lapse. The property owner also has the option to apply to the Supreme Court for the caveat’s removal.

Successful Caveat Lodgement for a Client at Walker Pender

Our conveyancer at Walker Pender expertly assisted our client, who had her eye on a property for some time, in lodging a caveat successfully.

The client sought to protect her interest due to an impending sale contract. We meticulously verified her claim and gathered all necessary documentation, including proof of her equitable interest.

Our in-depth knowledge of the process ensured accurate completion of all forms and adherence to jurisdiction-specific requirements.

By liaising with the state’s land registry and managing all correspondences, we facilitated a smooth submission.

Our proactive approach secured the caveat promptly, safeguarding the client’s interest in her desired property.

Learn How to Put a Caveat on a Property with Walker Pender

Ready to protect your interest in a property? Contact Walker Pender for a seamless experience. Our team navigates the complexities of property law to ensure your caveat is lodged correctly and efficiently. Don’t leave your property rights to chance.

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