Property & Leases Articles

How Long Does Your Commercial Lease Run?


If you’re a tenant seeking commercial space, or a landlord leasing commercial space, note that the policy of the Retail and Commercial Leases Act 1995 is to give commercial tenants a minimum of 5 years, whatever the lease says. Sections 20B (1) and (2) of the Act state: “(1) The term for which a retail shop… Read more »

When the average yield for a 3 bed house in Adelaide is around 4.5%, is it really possible to buy an average 3 bedder that grosses 15% or higher? Yes it is! But of course, there’s a unique business model behind this strategy. One of my long term clients, Melinda Mayne, bought a very ordinary… Read more »

Welcome to Part 2 of my “Commercial Lease Negotiation Essentials” which looks at some other things that landlords and tenants should consider before signing an Agreement to Lease.  Lease terms are important to landlords for a number of reasons including that the value of the property will is directly related to the strength of the… Read more »

Unfortunately, as lawyers, we are usually asked to prepare or advise on Commercial Leases, Director Guarantees and Disclosure Statements after lease negotiations are complete and the parties have already committed to an Agreement to Lease (which is generally binding irrespective of whether a final lease is executed).   We can add significantly more value during (or preferably… Read more »

Building Dispute Developments in South Australia


There have been several recent developments in building law relevant to anyone involved in a building dispute in South Australia. Security for payments In recent years, SA has adopted a security for payments system that fast tracks payments and limits disputes (in commercial building matters). This means that a builder in an appropriate case can… Read more »

Commercial Lease Advice Vital for Tenants


Unfortunately, in the rush to start a new business or enter a franchise, many clients seek advice after they have already signed an ‘Agreement to Lease’ or ‘Lease Proposal’.  These documents are often binding and not capable of further negotiation!  It is vital to receive independent legal advice before signing anything. The reasons documents are… Read more »

Verification of Identity Requirement of SA Land Titles Office


From 28 April 2014, the Registrar-General of the South Australian Lands Titles Office implemented the Verification of Identity Policy, introduced to minimise the risk of land title fraud and other improper land title dealings. This is also the first of many steps in the leadup to electronic conveyancing in South Australia. Verification of Identity in… Read more »

Cooling Off Rights in South Australia


A right to “cool-off” is a contractual or statutory right which gives a party to an otherwise binding contract the right to change their mind during a certain period of time.  Provided that the cooling off notice is given strictly in accordance with the relevant procedure, the contract will come to an end.  Generally speaking,… Read more »

Joint Tenancy and Tenants-in-Common Confusion


Like all legal fictions, the most common forms of land ownership seem deceptively simple but in fact they can be quite complicated. Anna Pantelios provides a useful outline of the differences between joint tenancy and tenants-in-common from a conveyancing perspective in her article “Joint Tenants or Tenants-in-Common?” but confusion continues.  The legal consequences of getting… Read more »

Purchasing a Company Title, Cross Lease or Moiety Title


Purchasing a Company Title, Cross Lease or Moiety Title in South Australia is not as straight forward as buying a property that has its own title under the Torrens title system. It is not for everyone. The first hurdle to overcome is to make sure you have a clear understanding of what you are about… Read more »

There are a number of reasons why one may want to sell or transfer the right to receive rental income from a leased property. They include: (1) The desire to convert the future rental payments into an upfront capital amount by selling the right to receive rental income; (2) estate planning purposes and the desire… Read more »

Caveatable Interests in South Australia


Only legal or equitable interests in land are caveatable.  A debt or other contractual obligation that does not involve land will not sustain a caveat.  Even where land is involved it can be difficult to work out what constitutes a Caveatable Interest. The starting point for defining a Caveatable Interest in South Australia is the beginning… Read more »

A buyer who fails to settle on the agreed date is, on the face of it, in breach of a land sale contract.  As vendor, you will need to consider whether you want to insist that the deal be completed (by sending a Notice to Complete or even seeking a Court order for Specific Performance… Read more »

Land Tax not Payable by Tenant if Act Applies


In South Australia, the Retail and Commercial Leases Act 1995 provides that a retail shop lease cannot require a tenant to pay land tax but a landlord’s liability for land tax can be taken into account in assessing the amount of rent.  The Act does not always apply and in certain circumstances land tax can be… Read more »

The question I repeatedly hear is “Do I need to go to a Real Estate Agent to sell my property if I have a found a buyer privately?”  The answer is “no”.   All you need to properly document the sale is a Contract for the Sale and Purchase of Land and an up to… Read more »