When to lodge a caveat on a property
What is a caveat?
A ‘caveat’ is a notice which is lodged with the Registrar of the Land Titles Office, the government body that administers the property titling system in Queensland.
Once lodged, the caveat will, in essence, prevent the property from being sold or any other dealing being registered (such as a mortgage) unless the caveat is withdrawn, removed, lapses or is cancelled.
However, in order to register a caveat against the land of another in Queensland, you must have a ‘caveatable interest’.
The consequences of registering a caveat without reasonable cause can be serious and require compensation to be paid to anyone else who suffers loss or damage as a result.
What is a caveatable interest?
In Queensland, you may only lodge a caveat if you have an interest or estate in the land. Contrary to popular belief, being owed a debt by someone is not sufficient basis to lodge a caveat on their land. Their must be some relationship between that debt and the land.
The most common arrangement giving rise to this interest is an agreement between parties which contains a clause allowing one party to recover money from the land of the other party in the event of a breach or default under the agreement.
Another example is where a party agrees to mortgage or charge their property to another as security for the repayment of a loan, but the mortgage is not registered on the title.
There are many other examples, provided you can establish that an interest exists in the land.
When does a caveat lapse?
There are a number of events which may cause a caveat to lapse in Queensland:
- the caveator (being the person that lodged the caveat) does not commence Court proceedings in Queensland to establish the interest claimed in the caveat within 14 days after receiving a notice to commence proceedings from the land owner;
- if no notice is received from the land owner, the caveator does not commence Court proceedings in Queensland to establish the interest claimed in the caveat within 3 months of lodging the caveat;
- the land owner commences Court proceedings in Queensland to remove the caveat;
- the caveator lodges a notice with the Registrar to withdraw the caveat; or
- the Registrar cancels the caveat on request (and is satisfied that a caveatable interest does not exist).
How can we help?
Are you concerned as to whether you have a caveatable interest or has a caveat been lodged on your land? We can assist by advising on your rights and your options for enforcing or removing the caveat. Call us on 07 3106 3016 or email us on email@example.com to speak to one of our expert lawyers.