Home/Land purchase and sale
Whether you are buying your first home, or buying or selling an investment property or a commercial property, our property law team is here to assist you.
If selling a property, you must provide to the agent a listing contract before the agent can legally put the property on the market. We will prepare this contract for you and attach all the legally required documentation.
If purchasing property, it is important to have proper legal advice before you sign the contract or before you attend an auction at which you may wish to bid, even if the contract does contain “cooling off” rights.
It is vital to ensure property enquiries are made with local councils and government departments to ensure that any improvements to the land have been approved and/or there is no order requiring work to be done to the land. We can also obtain for you pre-purchase pest and building reports to ensure any buildings are structurally sound and free from pest infestations, particularly termites.
If you are looking to buy a commercial or investment property it is important to ensure what, if any, restrictions exist on how you may use the land and, if it is tenanted, that the lease is thoroughly checked.
Whether you are selling or purchasing a property, it is important to ensure that you comply with new conveyancing requirements. Our property team can advise vendors and purchasers as to their rights and obligations.
If you are granting or taking a lease of commercial premises, proper legal advice is essential.
Leases for ‘retail’ use (which may include businesses that are not traditionally retail, such as optometrists, beauticians, hairdressing salons, florists, dry cleaner etc) are subject to special provisions in the Retail Lease Act, 1994. These include that a lease will automatically be for a period of 5 years unless a solicitor’s certificate is provided on behalf of the tenant stating that the tenant understands the lease is for less than that period.
The requirements of the Act are very strict and include that the tenant must be provided with a Lessor’s Disclosure Statement at least 7 days before the retail lease is entered into. A copy of the proposed retail lease and a retail tenancy guide must be provided at the negotiation stage. The Retail Leases Act also has strict requirements in relation to the fees a tenant is required to pay and the procedure for obtaining consent to assignment of a retail lease.
A failure to comply with the Act can have dire consequences for the landlord and may include the tenant walking away from the lease with no penalty after its commencement. There are special provisions as to who can hold bonds for retail premises. Our property team can advise both landlords and tenants as to their rights and obligations.
There are hidden traps and pitfalls for which you will need advice before purchasing or selling a business.
Never purchase or sell a business without a written contract prepared or checked by your solicitor.
Businesses are very diverse and many have industry specific documentation that is required, such as purchase of a news agency or a taxi-plate.
If you are purchasing a franchise, the documentation will be prepared by the franchisor and you need to ensure you have proper legal advice before signing
The contract to buy or sell should include:
- The deposit to be paid;
- An adjustment of outgoings such as rent if applicable, utilities, waste removal;
- An agreed date for completion of the sale;
- Any special conditions that may be required to suit your particular circumstances
Other matters which your solicitor will address with you and with the other party include:
- Inclusion of fixtures, fittings and other equipment;
- Government and Council permits and licenses needed to operate the business;
- Whether or not development approval is required from the council to operate the business at a particular location;
- Stock in Trade;
- Work in Progress;
- Book Debts;
- Intellectual property;
- Business names;
- Contact details for the business – in particular you need to ensure you are purchasing the right to the phone numbers and fax number which may have been in existence for many years and are essential to the business;
- Lease – if applicable whether it be the granting of a new lease or transfer of an existing lease and any variations to the existing lease;
- Price and asset apportionment;
- Training and Tuition from the outgoing owner;
- The protection of employees and their existing entitlements, and who pays those entitlements, such as long service leave and annual holidays, particularly if you intend to keep existing employees as their entitlements may continue to accrue even though they have been employed by you for a short time only;
- GST – is the business the sale of a going concern which would mean the sale is GST free;
- Restraint of Trade: To ensure the vendor is prohibited from operating or being concerned with (for example as an employee) a similar business for a period of time and in a defined area;
- Business contracts and arrangements;
- Leased/hired equipment;
- Whether any outstanding notices or orders have been issued by Council in respect of the land.