What is a caveat and why do I need one?

A Caveat is used by a party to protect their interests in land or property where a person has an unregistered interest. A caveat can be lodged to give notice of their interest and to prevent any further dealings with a property, until the interest can be registered.

When lodging a caveat, the party must have a ‘caveatable interest’. The most common examples of these are:

  • Unregistered mortgages and Loan Agreements;
  • Unregistered leases;
  • A right of an individual who has contributed to the “acquisition, maintenance and improvement” of the land;
  • A Purchasers interest in a contract to buy land;
  • As a beneficiary to a Will;
  • As beneficiary of a Trust.

It is often seen when a couple has purchased a property together, but the title is in the sole name of one spouse only. If the person can prove that they have contributed to the acquisition, maintenance and improvement of the land, then a caveat can be registered to protect their interests.

Once lodged, how long do caveats last?

In South Australia, caveats do not lapse. Caveats continue to protect the interest of the party until they have been withdrawn or removed. Should a party remove a caveat and then wishes to re-lodge a caveat on the same property, they would be unable to do so without the leave of the Supreme Court. So, it’s a good idea to seek legal advice before removing it.

If you have any further questions about Caveats or property matters generally, speak with one of our experienced property lawyers today on 8357 7611 or book an appointment now for a free 30-minute consultation.