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Property Law

Buying or Selling Property

Whether a first home buyer or in the property market for a number of years, it is important to seek legal advice when buying or selling property.

The purchase of real estate is often the most expensive purchase you will make. Seek legal advice to better understand your rights and responsibilities for the different types of property ownership and to understand the interests noted on the title. 

Auctions are currently the preferred approach to sell real estate in Auckland, so it is important you take the time prior to the auction to investigate the property.  A real estate agent acts for the vendor and doesn’t always put your interests first. Obtaining legal advice before submitting a tender, attending an auction or signing an agreement can save money and headaches in the future. 

Different forms of title ownership affect your rights of ownership of the property, such as fee simple, unit titles (apartments), cross lease estates and leasehold. All of these may provide additional responsibilities. We can advise and discuss with you the legal implications of your proposed purchase before signing on the dotted line.

When selling, you should be aware of your responsibilities and obligations, such as commitments to tenants, vendor warranties or unit title requirements. We can help you understand the fine print of an agreement for sale and purchase

There are different forms of title ownership, all of which can affect how you can deal with the property and each come with their own legal issues.  For example:

Unit Titles/Statum Estates

Anyone who has lived or owned property in an apartment or multi tenant building would be familiar with the issues that can arise when a number of people share properties in close proximity.  Body Corporates and the rules which apply to your building come in all different shapes and sizes and can affect how you live.  Issues as to who is responsible for what maintenance, what your Body Corporate levy covers and what consists of common property can arise.

New provisions also govern unit title properties which place additional requirements on the owners and Body Corporates as to disclosure when buying or selling.  Failure to adequately disclose can result in a cancelled contract. 

Cross Lease Estates

Cross lease properties are common yet often misunderstood.  A cross lease is a type of property ownership where you own an undivided share in the land and a lease for the actual building as shown on the flats plan.  A lease document is registered on the title and this lease sets out the respective rights and responsibilities for each owner.  Consideration of the terms of the lease is needed when dealing with the land or surrounding property.  Each cross lease is unique and has different common areas, exclusive use areas and restrictions.  Alterations made to the building without the right steps being taken can result in an issue with the other owners or the cross lease being defective.

Other Issues

Instruments registered on the title such as easements and land covenants affect the land.  These can impact access to your or your neighbour's property and provide restrictions on intended building works.  Any instrument should be considered as to its legal effect to determine whether what you are purchasing is what you actually want. 

 

Property Sharing and Guarantees

With rising house prices and restrictions on lending, many people are turning to friends and family to bridge the gap. Family can provide guarantees for lending if you need a bit extra for your deposit. Buying a property with friends can lighten the burden of saving for the full deposit and servicing the lending.  Providing a guarantee for your children is helping them step up into the property market, but you expose can your own property if they fail to meet their obligations.  

When purchasing property as a group, many questions should be considered before completing the purchase, such as who pays what outgoings or what happens if one party wants to move out, renovate or sell their share. These should be considered before completing the purchase, and you, your family and/or friends involved in the purchase need legal advice.  Each of you have different needs and requirements to be met. We advise clients regularly on property sharing arrangements, providing guarantees and lending to family members.  


Other Property Matters

We are experienced in advising clients on many other property matters, some of which overlap with other areas of law.  These include the sale and purchase of businesses, and includes employment matters and subdivisions.  Feel free to contact us to discuss these on 09 475 6410 or by email at info@sweetmanlaw.co.nz