Property Law

We have extensive experience dealing with real estate transactions and property matters and have assisted numerous clients throughout the lifecycle of their property needs. We can help with:

  • Residential conveyancing, including off-the-plan sales and purchases
  • Sale or purchase of commercial and industrial property
  • Commercial and retail leasing
  • Business contracts
  • Large scale residential property developments
  • Property acquisitions and disposals
  • Dispute resolution and litigation
  • Foreign property – investment in France

Commercial and retail leasing

If you intend entering a commercial lease, it is important to ensure your negotiations are documented in a written complying agreement setting out the rights and responsibilities of the lessor and lessee. Many disputes involving commercial and retail leasing arise because the parties have not recorded their negotiations, or they have not had the terms and conditions of their lease agreement reviewed and properly explained.

A well drafted lease should address all the necessary terms and conditions the parties need for a long term and mutually beneficial relationship. Typical lease provisions include:

  • Area to be leased – a description of the premises and details of amenities, carparks, storage and common areas; and a plan showing the leased area and size of the premises.
  • Term of the lease – the commencement and end date of the lease as well as any renewal options and how such options should be exercised.
  • Rent and outgoings – the rent, method and time for reviewing rent and the outgoings payable by the lessee.
  • Permitted use – this should allow for the lessee to conduct its proposed business activities, noting that a lessee should also obtain any necessary approvals or licences required for the proposed use.
  • Fit-out and refurbishment – the permitted fit-out and details of who is responsible for costs and installation, whether fixtures may be removed and any refurbishment obligations of the lessee when the lease expires.

Retail leases are commercial leases regulated by legislation typically applying to premises within shopping centres or that are used wholly or predominantly to run a retail business. Lessors and leasing arrangements must comply with the provisions of this legislation which is aimed at providing greater consumer protection to lessees. The legislation requires lessors to provide disclosure information to lessees and prohibits certain terms in the lease agreement that are deemed unreasonable.

We strongly encourage all lessors and lessees to obtain independent legal advice when negotiating their arrangements and entering into a commercial lease.

Property development

Property development requires a range of due diligence activities and a sound understanding of the various laws and processes involved in bringing a property venture to fruition. It is a complex area, and it is important to understand the overlap of the relevant laws, and the processes required to achieve the proposed objectives of a project and minimise costly mistakes.

Property development is governed by various laws, regulations, schemes and policies administered by local councils and other government bodies. Every council has a local planning scheme that describes what type of development or activities may be undertaken within their local government area.

Collaborating with professionals such as an experienced property lawyer and surveyor to check off due diligence matters, liaise with relevant authorities, and to prepare and explain titling and legal concepts is invaluable throughout this process.

Building development agreements

A building development agreement can be used to document negotiations between the participants of a development project. These agreements are essential for setting out each party’s respective rights and responsibilities, their contributions to the project and the allocation of risk. The agreement may also deal with taxation and stamp duty, the procurement of finance, security, and a range of other matters.

Option agreements

An option deed is an agreement to buy/sell a certain property within a specified time and on certain terms and conditions. They are often negotiated between landowners and property developers and can include a range of flexible conditions to accommodate the parties’ respective needs.

Buying under an option agreement may enable a developer to secure a price for land for future development while they arrange finance and carry out due diligence, before committing to the purchase. An option arrangement can provide a landowner control over the timing of the sale and a range of other flexible matters.

Property law affects individuals and businesses regularly – it is a complex area and the smallest oversight in your property transaction can lead to a major roadblock and costly mistakes. We have a sound understanding of property, development and planning laws and have guided many clients through their property matters.

If you or someone you know wants more information or needs help or advice, please contact us on:
France Booth (02) 9958 1994 or email [email protected]
Wendye Vince (02) 9550 9767 or email [email protected]