A caveat is a warning recorded on the title of a property to alert all interested parties of an interest in the property.

We often are approached by clients who would like to lodge a caveat over a property which is owned by a person who owes them money, however being owed money is normally not sufficient to entitle you to lodge a caveat.

In order to lodge a caveat against a property owned by another person, you must have what is known as a “caveatable interest” in that property.

Situations where a caveatable interest may arise:

• Where you are the purchaser under a Contract for the Sale of Land;
• Where there is a specific contractual provision in a deed or agreement
• Where the property has been charged with the repayment of a debt;
• If you are the beneficiary in very limited trust agreements; or
• If a dealing with land has involved fraud or misrepresentation.

This is not an exhaustive list and legal advice should be sought to determine whether you have sufficient grounds to lodge a caveat. There are considerable penalties if a caveat is lodged without grounds.

If you are an owner and you receive notice that a caveat has been lodged against your property, there are steps you can take to force the caveator to justify their entitlement to lodge a caveat.

There are also some circumstances where it may be appropriate to lodge a caveat if you are concerned that someone may attempt to deal with your property without your permission, for example if you have had your identity stolen.

You should always seek legal advice in relation to the lodgement of a caveat or what you should do if you receive notification that a caveat has been lodged against your property. Please contact our experienced team at wmd@wmdlaw.com.au or on 9525 8688.