New Series: Think like a Lawyer

New Series: Think like a Lawyer

As part of our new Think Like a Lawyer series, we will be offering clients, colleagues and interested parties our insights into property related transactions gleaned from years of practice. We hope they help you navigate some legal challenges and make you think a little more like a lawyer.

Negotiating a contract to acquire a site:

You’ve found the perfect site for your next townhouse subdivision, and the vendor agrees to a nice long settlement. That’s great, but here are some other things you might think about including in the special conditions:

  1. How about a due diligence period so you can properly investigate the title and see what planning issues or restrictions there might be, before you’re locked in to complete;
  2. The long settlement will give you time to get your planning permit, but you might also need the vendor’s approval for things like:
    • Their consent on any development applications;
    • A licence your consultants to access the site for surveys and the like;
    • Permission to place planning notices and advertisements on the site;
    • Or even marketing signage for the future project;
  3. If a development permit has already been obtained, ask the vendor to give you any copyright in project related documents – not all will be assignable though, this will depend on the original consultancy agreement;
  4. And don’t forget to require the vendor to disclose the GST treatment of their acquisition so you can work out if you can use the margin scheme in future.

And finally, make sure you understand the termination dates of any existing leases and whether they are retail or non-retail. Getting this wrong might delay your plans by years!