Month: May 2016

Are you still owed money?

When you’re owed money, you may need the assistance of legal practitioner. For some, this may appear cost-prohibitive or they may believe the outstanding funds are not large enough to employ a legal profession.

To help recover debts, we’ve included a new “Letter of Demand” on our website. This letter can now be your first, cost effective step to recover outstanding debts.

It’s easy to use!

  • Simply click HERE and you will be directed to our online “Demand Letter” service
  • Simply complete your details and your debtor’s details in the form provided on our website
  • Pay a flat fee of $77 [incl GST]

 

Hassall’s Litigation Services will complete a Letter of Demand on its letterhead. The letter will be sent, within 7 days of payment, to your debtor. This demand letter serves as a warning to pay the money or further legal action may be taken.

This new service only costs you $77 [inc GST] to have the letter drafted, printed and delivered. This cost cannot be recovered from the other party.

 

What happens once the Demand Letter has been sent?

No further action will be taken by us BUT if you require further assistance, simply contact us, and we would be able to assist you in commencing court proceedings to recover your debt.

 

To complete your Letter of Demand, simply click here.

Maintain your share of your property

When spouses/de facto couple purchase real property in Australia, conveyancers almost always register both purchasers’ names on Title as holding the property as joint tenants instead of as tenants in common.

If you and your spouse/partner hold Title of the real property as “joint tenants”, when one person passes away, the deceased’s interest automatically passes to the other person, the survivor – this is called the “right of survivorship” i.e. the person who survives the other will benefit from the deceased’s interest.

There are situations where this arrangement may not be ideal. For example, if spouses separate and one spouse passes away prior to a property settlement being finalised, then the surviving spouse automatically benefits from the deceased’s interest, even though they are separated and the deceased may not have wanted his/her share to pass to their former spouse. Of course, these are actions that can be taken in the Family Court by an Executor.

There is another option. If you own real property with someone else, you can instead be registered on Title as “tenants in common”.

Let’s take a closer look at both ownership options:

1. Tenants in common:  This type of ownership allows you and your purchasing partner to split ownership of the property into shares. For example, “as tenants in common in equal shares” or “as tenants in common as to one third share” and the other person may have two thirds share of the property. You may even split them into 100 shares and one person may own 40 shares out of 100 shares whereas the other person would own the other 60 shares.

If you are registered on Title as “tenants in common”, you may bequeath your share of the property to anyone you like in a Will.

2. Joint Tenants: If you own the real property with a spouse/partner, you are most likely registered on Title as “joint tenants”. Each joint tenant owns 100% of the real property. If one person dies, the deceased’s interest automatically passes to the surviving joint tenant. You cannot bequeath your interest in the real property in a Will.

 

Our advice

  • We recommend that everyone who purchases real property register their interests on Title as “Tenants in common” and make a Will. This action protects your interest in the property and allows you to bequeath your interest in the property to anyone you like.
  • If you are separated/applying for a divorce, we are able to assist you by executing a Transfer of Land, transferring your interest your property from being registered as “joint tenants” to “tenants in common”.
  • If your children are purchasing property with their spouse/partner/friends, pass on this newsletter to them!

Call us today to know your options.

This article provides information that is general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice.

What are the rights of you and your builder?

Many builders are under the incorrect impression that there are different structural and non-structural warranty periods, or they can set their own defect period policies.  Here’s the answers to some common questions about your builder and warranties.

 

Myth 1: Builders can give a fixed warranty period for a period they choose.

No! There is no way of reducing the limitation period set by the Building Act. If a building defect is discovered, a builder cannot limit his liability by putting a term in your contract, his website or advertising material. In fact, any contract clause or advertising that seeks to reduce the warranty or limitation period will be void and of no effect.

 

Myth 2: There is a 10 year warranty so the builder is liable for defects for 10 years.

Not quite! There is a 10 year limitation period for building actions. This means legal action in VCAT can be started against a builder anytime up to 10 years of completion of a contract or from a date the certificate of occupancy is issued.

The 10 year limitation period does not necessarily mean that you provide a 10 year warranty for your work. What it means is that if a defect is identified in the building, the owner has up to 10 years from the date of the certificate of occupancy (or the completion date) to sue the builder.

 

Myth 3: There is a 2 year non-structural and 6 year structural warranty for building works.

Incorrect. These warranties only apply to Home Owner Warranty Insurance [HOW] claims. These time limits do not otherwise apply to claims against builders. HOW is obtained by the builder for your benefit. In short, a HOW policy protects you in circumstances where your builder has died, disappeared or become insolvent.

 

Myth 4: You are not covered by builders warranty if you purchase someone else’s new home [under 7 years old].

Incorrect. The implied warranties provided by the builder of a property run with the property – not the owner. This means that a new owner of a property can make a claim against a builder, providing they are within the warranty and limitation periods.