Australian Property Laws You Need to Understand Before Moving

Moving to a different country is always complicated, especially with the numerous legal requirements of becoming a permanent resident. This does not even consider all the nuances in culture and customs that you might need to adjust to in order to successfully assimilate into your new community. Australia is no different. 

Assuming that you’ve already handled all the immigration concerns, one other thing you must contend with is the variety of complex property laws. You have to be armed with the right knowledge if you are to navigate the ownership, transfer, sale, and leasing of properties in Australia, in addition to being partnered up with a reliable law firm to handle the process. 


A few important concerns

One important concern to remember is that the property laws in Australia are not uniform throughout the country. Depending on what state you’re in, there might be additional requirements when processing property documents. 

Some Australian states maintain a separate register to record transactions involving foreign ownership. This register is different from the FIRB approval that foreigners obtain before investing in Australian property. 

Some states also require homebuyers to verify the residency of sellers, alongside their compliance with GST regulations. Depending on the local government, the buyer may also have to retain a portion of the sale consideration to remit to the tax office directly. This is an important regulation to consider, as failure to comply might make the buyer liable for the tax amount.

As such, it is crucial to enlist the help of a law firm that specialises in property transactions to help you through this process. 


The types of land ownership in Australia

There are quite a few types of land ownership in Australia, with each state having its own set of regulations to manage land ownership. Here are some of these types:


Freehold Titles

“Freehold” is a term that refers to a type of land ownership that allows the owner or buyer complete and unrestricted ownership of the property, barring mining and extraction (which require special licenses). The land can be used in any reasonable manner that remains compliant with local and environmental laws. Freehold titles also generally fall under the Torrens title system.


The Torrens Title System

The Torrens title system is a body of regulations that protects buyers regarding registered interests in the land. This form of title allows you to register all types of interests in the property. 

In many parts of Australia, such as New South Wales, freehold lands are held under older systems with different regulations. Such lands are harder to find and generally have more complex regulations and requirements that need to be followed. 


The Strata/Community Title

Strata titles apply to multi-level complexes that provide benefits of part ownership within the building. Such complexes often have shared benefits for the residents, giving access to amenities such as pools, foyers, gyms, and other facilities. The property is subdivided into units or lots.


Crown land

Crown land is land that is owned by the Australian government, with statutory regulations in place that are different from the regulations surrounding freehold titles. 


In conclusion

When it comes to land ownership in Australia, there are plenty of considerations you need to take into account. If you are a foreigner looking to take residence in any of the Australian states, there are more requirements you might have to comply with to finalise your move into the country. 

If you’re looking for a law firm in Milton to help you with your property purchase in Australia, send us a message at GLG Legal. We have the expertise and experience to help this process run more smoothly.