The word caveat is Latin and translates to “let him or her beware”. You may have seen the word pop up in relation to a property – that’s because a caveat can be lodged against someone’s property title to protect the lodging party’s right or interest in the property, and it prevents the registered owner of the property from selling, mortgaging, and dealing with the property until the caveat is removed from the title.
To lodge a caveat you must have a “caveatable interest”. These interests are described under Section 138(1) of the Land Transfer Act 2017.
Examples of when a caveat could be registered include:
- Where a party has purchased a property and paid a deposit but settlement won’t take place until sometime later
- There is a substantial amount of time between signing the contract and the settlement date
- Where a party has a beneficial interest in the land.
If a caveat is registered without reasonable cause, the person lodging the caveat may be liable to pay compensation to anyone who suffers a loss as a result of the caveat being registered.
If you need to protect your interest in land and think you may need to lodge a caveat, seek legal advice as to whether you have a caveatable interest. We’re happy to help you discern whether this is a possibility for you.