Underquoting Laws Change

UNDERQUOTING can take place whenever a real estate agent misleads a potential buyer about the likely selling price of a property – be it for commercial or residential real estate.

For example: When a property is promoted at a price that is lower than its estimated selling price, the seller’s asking price or at a price that the seller has already rejected. [Read more…]

WARNING: Your Land Tax Objections for 2017

THIS IS A REMINDER to Review your Assessments and Object before the 60-Day Deadline expires very soon.

As you may well be aware, the State Revenue Office is currently issuing 2017 Land Tax assessments for Victorian landholdings owned as at midnight on 31 December 2016.

These land tax assessments are based on local council valuations as at 1 January 2016 and from our preliminary review of a number of assessments, site values have increased substantially between the 2014 and 2016 revaluation dates.   This has obviously led to significantly higher land tax assessments for landowners.

If you are wanting to object to these assessments, you must do so within 60 days of receipt of the assessment and generally, no extensions to this date are possible.

Each year, HWL Ebsworth prepare a number of objections to land tax assessments and also prepare applications to VCAT where the SRO disallows objections which are made.  We also have relationships with leading valuers who specialise in land tax objections.

Bottom Line: Please contact me if you would like some help with this process … to ensure your objection is prepared properly, with the best chances of success — as the potential savings across your property portfolio could be substantial.

Disclaimer: If you think a similar situation may apply to you, then you should contact us for detailed legal advice relating to the particular facts and circumstances of your property or lease agreement. This article is not intended to provide such detailed and specific advice. And, you should not act on the basis of any matter contained in this article without first obtaining more comprehensive professional advice.



How Solar Panel Initiative Helps Commercial Landlords

A RECENT INITIATIVE by City of Melbourne set to accelerate the rollout of Solar Cells on commercial buildings across Australia.

You may not realise, but Australia has the highest number of solar panels on residential rooftops per capita in the world. However, solar panels on commercial buildings in Australia are few and far between -- with plenty of roof space not generating any energy.

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Foreign Resident CGT Withholding Regime

ON 25 FEBRUARY 2016, Parliament passed a new foreign resident capital gains tax withholding regime.

The regime applies to contracts entered into on or after 1 July 2016; and is intended to assist the Commissioner of Taxation in the collection of the CGT payable by foreign residents.

Under the regime, a 10% non-final withholding tax will apply to foreign residents on the disposal of relevant taxable Australian property.

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Do You Fully Understand “Cooling Off” Periods?

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY INVESTORS will generally live in a residential property. So, here is something to consider when you come to buy your next home.

A recent decision in the Supreme Court of Victoria (Tan v Russell [2016] VSC 93) has made it clear that real estate agents do not have authority to receive notices of termination when purchasers seek to exercise their cooling off rights, unless otherwise authorised to receive such notices.

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Negative Gearing Reform

Do Commercial Investors have anything to fear?

WHILE NEGATIVE GEARING is relied upon by investors across various sectors in the Australian economy, it has once again been brought under the spotlight within the context of property investment.

And both sides of politics have shared their positions, where it has been hotly debated over the last few months.

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Under the Hammer: The Epidemic of Underquoting

WHILE REAL ESTATE AGENTS (both commercial and residential) must act fairly and honestly when advertising property, there is no doubt that underquoting is a significant problem -- predominantly in the current Melbourne and Sydney real estate market.

Although the New South Wales Government has recently proposed legislative reforms in order combat this problem, Victoria is yet to follow.

What is Underquoting?

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Changes to FIRB Requirements

THE FOREIGN INVESTMENT Review Board's (FIRB) reluctance to prosecute non-complying foreign investors, and the public criticism that this has received, has led to the introduction of stricter foreign investment laws by the Australian Government.

These changes will apply from 1 December 2015.

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Quiet Enjoyment: It’s More Than Just Noise

Quiet-Enjoyment

QUIET ENJOYMENT IS a right held by all tenants to enjoy their property undisturbed.

Most lease agreements come with a specific clause granting tenants quiet enjoyment, however, courts have readily implied the right into leases not containing such a provision.

In assessing whether a breach has occurred, the court will look to the activities of the tenant and whether they have been rendered practicably impossible to use the premises. [Read more…]

Commercial Property: Retail Landlords to Pay!

Derelict-Building

THE VICTORIAN CIVIL and Administrative Tribunal has given an opinion at the behest of an application from the Victorian Small Business Commissioner.

President Garde determined that compliance costs under the Building Act 1993 (Vic) (Building Act) and repair and maintenance costs under the Retail Leases Act 2003 (Vic) (Retail Leases Act) are the responsibility of landlords and cannot be recovered from tenants. [Read more…]

Contaminated Land: Is it Buyer Beware?

Contamination

ALL AUSTRALIAN STATES AND TERRITORIES have (somewhat varied) legislation dealing with land contamination. There are some important concepts applicable to every state and territory.

Many actions may be contrary to environmental protection laws, but sites classified as contaminated have to meet specific criteria.

This means that mere pollution does not necessarily equate to land contamination. [Read more…]