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Welcome to Property Investment Lawyer website

What is Property Investing?

They say that there are two kinds of people– people who are property investors, and people who would like to become property investors!

Property Investors make money by collecting rent, by renovation and property development. Property Investors improve their properties, and develop their properties to boost cash flow. Property investors use joint ventures. Property investors use trusts as their preferred structures for asset protection and for tax efficiency.

In this Property Investment Lawyer website, we look at the legal side of property investment. We look at buying, at the landlord’s side of renting, at asset protection structures, at property joint ventures, at finance for property investment, at landlord insurance, at real estate taxes and at property development.

We at Cordato Partners Property Lawyers do conveyancing for Property Investors who love Investment Property. In our conveyancing practice, we do all kinds of real estate work and are equally good at purchases and sales, leases and financing, joint ventures and set up all kinds of property investment structures!

We love feedback and queries. Contact us via our website, or by telephone for a free 15 minute consultation – click the contact us page.

Why the family home is Australia’s favourite tax haven

For most Australians, the smartest investment decision of all is to buy a family home. One reason why is that when it comes to sell, no capital gains tax is payable on the sale proceeds.

Family homes have always been exempt from tax when they are sold. This exemption was both preserved and restricted when capital gains tax was introduced on 20 September 1985. The restrictions include: moving into the new home as soon as practicable, a time limit of six years after moving out (without buying a new home), and ownership in personal names (not in the name of a company or trust). If the restrictions are not observed, capital gains tax is payable.

Family homes used to be subject to inheritance taxes (death duties and estate duties) when the house was inherited. But inheritance taxes were abolished in the early 1980s and were not replaced except in one instance: If the family home is inherited and is not sold within 2 years of the date of death, then capital gains tax is payable on the increase in value from the date of death. The 2 year time limit does not apply (and no tax is payable) if the home becomes owner-occupied or if the home was purchased before 20 September 1985.

Family homes are exempt from land tax.

And when it comes to retirement, family homes have a special status for the age pension means test: they are not counted as an asset, no matter what their value.

Click here to find out more

Tree Disputes – the ultimate guide to the law

  • Are you worried about branches from a neighbour's tree overhanging your yard and spoiling your enjoyment of your swimming pool or shading your garden?
  • Are you worried that a tree branch might fall or that a tree trunk is growing too close and is damaging your property?
  • Are you worried that tree roots from a neighbour's tree are damaging your property or sewer lines?
  • Are you worried that a tree or tree branch might fall and cause injury?
  • Are you suffering a severe obstruction of your sunlight or a view from a bamboo, lilly pilli or other hedge?

Find out what you can do by clicking here

The Fraudulent Conveyances Act of 1571 is still voiding fraudulent property transfers 450 years later

The Act changed the law but not human nature. The latest in a long line of cases which have applied the Statute of 13 Elizabeth to void fraudulent property transfers is the decision of Commissioner of Taxation v Parr [2022] FCA 156 (28 February 2022) (Banks-Smith J).

See More

Are Short-Term Loans risky for lenders and borrowers?

Short-term loans have high interest rates, at least 8% pa. They have high loan fees, and often require the interest to be paid up front.

They are risky for borrowers because the high interest rate quicky eats away the equity in the property, and if they default, the interest rate jumps to 16% pa or more.

Click for more

Neighbour’s CCTV turns factory fire alibi into ashes

It seemed like the perfect alibi. Perfect, except for one small detail.

Click here for the story

Do you live in a home unit?

Do you worry about building repairs? For more click

Home loan introducers will soon be a thing of the past

The financial regulator, ASIC has taken the ANZ Bank to court for breaches of the Credit Act because it used unlicensed introducers for home loans. For the full story, click

Choose your business name well … or you may lose it

There are 2 quick tips when choosing a business name – (1) Do an ASIC search to see that no one else has taken it first; (2) Check Google, domain names and trade marks to see that your name will not be deceptively similar to an existing name. For more, click

Do you own a serviced apartment?

Do you know what happens to your rents when the manager of your serviced apartment goes broke? Click here for more

Don’t lose your right of way!

If you need to pass over someone else's land to reach your property, you need to have a right of way.

It’s a valuable right which needs protection. For more click

Renting the Family Home to a son or daughter? It pays to have paperwork

Allowing a son or daughter to stay in the family home after parents die needs proper paperwork to avoid disputes. Click here.

Crime doesn't pay (not even arson)

Arson is a crime where the perpetrator ‘robs’ an insurance company. It looks like easy money for blaming a fire on an electrical fault. But it’s not easy to get away with arson, as this article illustrates

When can a tenant complain about mould, and what can they ask for?

Mould grows in damp conditions – both landlords and tenants have responsibilities but only tenants have rights. For more on tenant’s rights click

Does bamboo block your view?

Bamboo makes a great screen – a dense green wall. But if it takes away a view, it is a pest.

To find out more about your rights when a neighbour block your view with bamboo see

Court slashes loan interest rate.

Borrowers win deep rate cut because loan documentation was not watertight.

Click here to find out more

Thinking of paying a 5% deposit on a property? Do you know the trap?

Paying a 5% deposit instead of a 10% deposit under a Contract to purchase a property is very popular when property prices are high.

But there are hidden traps. For more see

Airbnb-style short-stay traveller accommodation policy in NSW – the latest update

Renting out a house or home unit, Airbnb-style, is legal in New South Wales, but you need to follow the new rules if you do. For more, click

Does putting the family home in the wife's name protect it from creditors?

Click for More

Will a Court correct errors in a contract if they are obvious?

A Court will correct missing words or incorrect clause numbers in a contract because these are obvious errors. Click for More

Do property joint ventures need to be in writing?

Thinking of doing a property joint venture without putting it into writing? Think again! For more click

What does a pet friendly strata by-law need to cover?

Now that all strata owners are allowed to keep pets, the search is on for the best pet friendly strata by-law to adopt. To find out more click

Every dog has its day - and the right to live in a strata apartment!

Click on my article for more

Have home loan approvals become too complicated?

The answer is yes, but help is on the way to simplify the rules - click

If you change real estate agents, will you pay double commission?

What risks do you take when you are unhappy with your real estate agent, and change?
Click for more

Real Estate Agents Commission

Is a signed Agency Agreement always necessary?
According to a recent decision in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, the answer is "Not always". For more, click on this link

What is company title?

Never heard of company title? Find out what it is and why strata title has replaced it in most, but not all circumstances. Click here for more

What to do with items left behind by your ex tenant?

What do you do with items of furniture, clothing, kitchenware, dead pot plants and rubbish left behind by an ex tenant in a house or flat? What if it’s an office where they behind office furniture and equipment. What can a landlord do? Click here for more

Granny flat warning – let live-in parents know if they are not secure for life

Do parents have the right to stay in the family home if they transfer title to their children to release cash from their equity? click to find out more

New tenant friendly laws start in NSW.

Is your rental property 'fit for habitation'? New laws for habitation standards, minor changes by tenants, early termination and smoke alarms started in NSW on 23 March 2020
Click on my article to find out more

Rental Properties must be fit for habitation

The NSW Government has set minimum standards for rental houses for lighting, ventilation, electricity & gas, plumbing and drainage and bathrooms, as well as structural soundness, to apply from 23 March 2020. For more, click on the article

Property options

Thinking of using property options to acquire property? Find out about the stamp duty consequences first. click here

Water leaks and other defects when buying a house

You buy a house. The first time it rains you notice the ceiling is damp in one corner. Do you 'cop it sweet' or believe the seller should pay to fix it because the water leak came from newly completed renovations? It is possible that the seller may have to pay - click here for more.

The case of the unlocked letterbox

Strata living gives rise to fascinating court cases. This is one of them. The dispute is about an unlocked letterbox –click here

Short-term Airbnb & Stayz rentals in NSW

For the latest policy announcement from the NSW Govt on Airbnb / short-term rentals - click on my article

The hidden trap in off the plan contracts

Walking away from the contract could cost more than the deposit

Click here to find out more

Are you thinking of buying or selling a property?

You need to know about six current trends
Click here for six trends to keep an eye on

Commercial Lease Proposals / Heads of Agreement

To find out about them, click here

Can you walk away from a property purchase without losing your deposit?

In most cases, the answer is no, but there are cases when you can if there is something wrong with the property. For more click

Would you tell your bank if it made the mistake of handing back the Title Deed to your home before you paid off your home loan?

For more click on If your bank makes a mistake, do you tell them?

Can you use a Caveat over a property to secure a loan?

If you lend money, using a caveat over a property as security is a good idea. But make sure the loan agreement is drafted properly For more click

Apartments built with aluminium panels used as external cladding are fire risks money sinks

See Who must pay the bill for the Lacrosse apartments fire?

Why buying a 2 bedroom home unit or townhouse is a smart move

Tony Cordato discusses with Felicity Heffernan Mortgage Broker

Click here for the discussion

Buying an Investment Property #1

Tony Cordato and Luke Moroney discuss strategies

Click here for the discussion

Mould in rental houses

What should a tenant do about mould, and what must a landlord do?

To find out click here

What can you do with an abandoned house?

Is it possible to acquire possessory title if you move in?

To find out click here

What can a strata owner do if the owners corporation restricts access to their car parking space?

To find out click here

Look out for the 'legal costs trap' before you take a strata dispute to Court

For more click Never go to court with a strata dispute because it may cost you if you win

Evicting tenants in NSW has just become harder

Click on Interstate landlords cannot use the NSW tenancy tribunal to evict tenants.

Does the NSW Sunset Clause Law protect a purchaser if a property developer uses a sunset clause to terminate an off the plan contract?

To find out what the court decided in a recent decision, click here

Is it possible to protect the family home from creditors?

Not always, but with the right legal advice, your chances are improved

click here for more

If you can buy a car privately without a written contract, why can't you buy a house the same way?

Click here for the reason why

What is the law for Airbnb style rentals in Sydney / NSW?

From 2019, new laws will apply to anyone renting their property for short-term rentals in Sydney / NSW.

Click here to find out more

Even if you’re renting to your own brother, ALWAYS SIGN A LEASE

It’s easy to verbally agree to let someone live in your house, but when the time comes to ask them to leave, it can be very expensive and messy to evict them if they refuse to move out.

Click here to find out more

Property Caveats are a black box

Click here to find out what happens when a purchaser caveats the property they are buying

New NSW policy welcomes short stay rentals (Airbnb style)

NSW gives the green light to owner-occupiers and investors to rent houses and home units for short stay (Airbnb style) rentals

Click here to find out more

Would you like a birds-eye view of real estate law in Australia?

Click here to find out more

An investment loan is not repayable without proof of the money trail.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank has failed for the second time to produce the documents to prove to the court it had the right to recover money loaned to an investor in the failed agribusiness scheme, Great Southern 2006 Organic Olives Income Project.

Click here to find out more

Purplebricks real estate promises greater fee transparency for sellers

When selling a property, find out about the total fee charged by the selling agent, because it will be more than advertised.

Click here for more

Are you selling your home or investment property? Is a flat fee online agent better than a traditional estate agent? Is it the difference in marketing?

For a look at how Purplebricks – a well-known online agent operates, click here

Do car parking spaces add value to a home?

Along with the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the number of car parking spaces is one of the three standard criteria commonly used in marketing a home.

Click here to read more about their value

Don't sign a personal guarantee to a lease unless you absolutely need to!

For the reasons why you need to think twice before signing a personal guarantee for retail shop premises Click here

The news is all bad for Timbercorp investors

Click here to find out more

Great Southern Plantations Investors - Bendigo Bank loan recovery claims can be beaten

When an agricultural investment goes bad, the money borrowed to fund it remains repayable. Sometimes it's possible to defeat a loan recovery claim, if you dig deep enough. This is the story of how the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank lost a loan recovery law suit for the recovery of a loan.

Click here to find out more

Does the lower tax rate for companies make them more attractive than a family trust for property investment?

Click here to find out more

Court rules that Airbnb style holiday letting can be restricted in strata buildings

Click here to find out more

Will interest-only loans soon become a thing of the past?

ASIC has taken its campaign against interest-only loans to a new level by taking legal proceedings against Westpac.

ASIC wants Westpac to pay a penalty for the interest-only loans it made to home-buyers between December 2011 and March 2015.

Click here to find out more

New laws for old for strata apartment owners

The NSW Government is introducing new strata laws will impact mainly on management of strata schemes but will also cover building defects in new buildings and renewal of strata schemes.

They will affect: * General Meetings * Strata Committees * Strata Managers * Strata Funds * Maintenance, repairs and renovation * Strata By-Laws *Building Defects in new strata schemes and * Redevelopment of existing strata schemes

Click here to find out more

This decade is all about income!

It seems that these days, everyone is looking for passive income & more time!

A lot of younger people are looking at setting up income streams to provide lifestyle choices and want to build wealth.

A lot of older people had great jobs and businesses and needed tax effective investments to reduce tax. But now they find that that their negatively geared properties are a negative cash flow trap they would rather not have.

For all, frugality, minimalism and positive cash flow are becoming the new cool!

This decade, property investment is returning to the basics – it’s all about income, not capital gains.

Video: Why this decade is all about income

What are the new renting options?

Is rentvesting or rent to own the best way to get into the housing market

Click here to find out more

Fixing water leaks in a strata apartment or villa can be tricky - not only to find the leak but also to convince the body corporate to fix the leak.

Click here to find out more

How Property Owners can walk away from sale options if the paperwork is not right

Are you a property owner who is wondering if there is any way to walk away from the sale option you agreed to and take back the property?

Click here for more information

How Airbnb is empowering Boutique Hotels and B&Bs to build their business

Click here to find out more

Are you thinking about using Airbnb to rent out your property?

Click here to find out more about the legalities.

The property buyers guide to Contract Deposits

How much is needed, does it need to be a full 10%, what ways are there to fund a deposit, and what happens to the deposit after it is paid?

Click here

The property buyers guide to Cooling Off

By law, home buyers and residential property investors have a 5 business day cooling off period to change their mind about buying the property. What is a cooling off period, and how does it work?

Click here

Without liability insurance, home owners are exposed to million dollar law suits

Click to find out more

Is now the right time to buy off-the-plan apartments in Sydney? Or do you wait until the property bubble bursts?

Will the new apartment market in Sydney continue to be a story of demand exceeding supply, or is it a property price bubble which is due to burst when a glut of new apartments comes on stream?

Follow this link to find out the right time to buy as-new units in Sydney at a 30% price discount.

How long do you have to make a building defects claim against the builder of strata apartments?

The new Strata Schemes laws in NSW will make it compulsory for a defects survey to be carried out within a year. This is a link to my article Don't wait until it's too late to make a Strata Scheme building defects claim.

The Landlord’s Guide to Renting – residential property

Renting advice for tenants / renters is plentiful.

Renting advice for landlords / owners is scarce.

In a tenant’s world, landlords need a good guide! The Landlord’s Guide to Renting is written for landlords - property owners - property investors, who need to know the ins and outs of the law of landlord and tenant, to maximise their rental property income.

Click for –

Part 1 – Repairs

Part 2 – Rent Increases

Part 3 – How to end a Lease

Part 4 – Quiet Enjoyment, Tenants breaking a lease

Part 5 – Rental Bond claims

Part 6 – Strata Renting

Part 7 – Landlord Insurance

Part 8 – Tax Guide for Rental Properties

And also click for a specialist article – Why landlords and tenants face special risks when leasing strata shops, offices and industrial premises

Click here to subscribe to the FREE Property Investment newsletter.

How to make settling your home unit purchase smoother

Click Here

When buying commercial property, you need to know if the price inclusive or exclusive of GST

Click Here

Joint Ventures for Property Investment

Joint Ventures are made for property investment! And they are easy to put together.

All that is needed is this information:

  • How do you put a joint venture together?
  • What do you need for a joint venture agreement?
  • What is the best legal structure for a joint venture?

Click here for the Investor’s Guide to Joint Ventures for Real Estate.

Did You know?

  • Joint Ventures flourished in London Coffee Houses in the 1750s
  • Lloyds of London Maritime Insurance began in Edward Lloyd’s Coffee House in 1688
  • Joint Ventures are used for trading enterprises and in mining, finance and real estate

Property Investment Structures

Do you use personal names or a property investment structure to buy property?

There is no black and white answer, because it depends on individual circumstances.

What is important – is it asset protection, is it tax efficiency, is it low cost or is it borrowing ability?

Click here for The Investor’s Guide to Buying Property – In whose name do you buy your next property?

Loan alert - Why are loan application forms such hard work?

Have you noticed how loan application forms are asking for more and more information? How employment, income, credit card, liabilities and assets need to be more fully disclosed? And how much paperwork such as payslips, tax returns, tax assessments, BAS Statements, bank statements, rent and loan statements is required?

The reason is that the regulatory authorities - in Australia being ASIC, are requiring lenders and loan brokers to comply with more rigorous responsible lending practices when assessing loan applications.

Lenders and loan brokers are responding with more detailed loan application forms, more supporting documentation, and more follow up. This is a summary of the legal requirements under the National Credit Act:

  • The lender must make reasonable inquiries about a customer's requirements and objectives
  • The lender must make reasonable inquiries about a customer's financial situation
  • The lender must take reasonable steps to verify the customer's financial situation
  • The lender must make a preliminary assessment
  • The lender must provide a credit guide

To find out more, click here

Why missing a credit card payment makes it hard to qualify for a property loan

The rules for credit data privacy have changed.
Lenders are now able to swap and share borrower credit histories.

And, instead of having to wait 60 days to mark a default on an individual credit file, just 14 days after a payment is due is now enough for a lender to mark a missed payment – and affect a credit rating. Just 14 days – in the USA it is 30 days!

We also cover credit files, credit scores and the essentials of qualifying for a property loan.

Click here for Why missing a credit card payment makes it harder to qualify for a property loan.

Do you need credit repair or debt consolidation? Is it best to use a firm or do it yourself?

Click to find out more

Will your swimming pool pass the pool safety tests under the new laws if you sell or lease?

Click to find out more

Tax issues for property investors

Tax must be factored in at each stage of a property transaction.

  • When buying, Stamp Duty and purchase costs are payable.
  • While holding the property, Income Tax and deductibility of Interest and other expenses, Depreciation and Land Tax are important.
  • When selling, Sale Costs and Capital Gains Tax are important.

Click here for a Tax Guide for Rental Properties.

Exactly what expenses can a property investor claim, particularly a small property investor?

A recent Administrative Appeals Tribunal decision really opens up the scope for small property investors to claim a wide range of tax deductions if they can demonstrate they are carrying on a business of letting rental properties.

What is the business of letting rental properties and what expenses are claimable as tax deductions if you are carrying on that business?

Click here for How do you tell if you are carrying on a rental property business?

Are you looking to sell your home or investment property?

10 Frequently Asked Legal Questions answered

Q 1 What legal paperwork do I need to have so that I can sell?

Q 2 What Certificates do I need to have for the Contract?

Q 3 How do I decide upon which real estate agent will do the best job?

Q 4 What do I look for before I sign a sales agency agreement?

Q 5 When does the Contract for Sale need to be prepared?

Q 6 What items need to be covered in the Contract for Sale?

Q 7 What are cooling off rights and how do they affect a Contract for Sale?

Q 8 What tax traps do I need to keep in mind when selling a property?

Q 9 What needs to be done to discharge the mortgage?

Q 10 Do I need to be present at the settlement?

How short stay, Airbnb style accommodation combines rental returns and capital gains

We all like property where we enjoy both a strong cash flow and high capital gains.

What defeats most people is that cash flow tends to be poor in areas of high capital gains, and cash flow tends to strong in areas of low capital gains.

To give an example, rental returns of about 3% are common in city beach suburbs such as Bondi, Bronte and Coogee which are areas of high capital growth, and about 8% in regional NSW towns such as Tamworth, Dubbo and Albury, which have low capital growth.

The answer is not to avoid the areas of poor cash flow, but to work out a way to boost cash flow in the high capital gains areas.

Airbnb style short stay accommodation provides one answer – in tourist areas such as near city beaches, or areas with good transport links to a business hub, a property owner can boost yields by 50% to 100%.

And yet, you enjoy the same capital gain as your next door neighbour who doesn’t use Airbnb.

For more information, click here

Who are Cordato Partners, Property Investment Lawyers?

This website has been produced by Cordato Partners Lawyers, as part of its Property Law practice.

We specialise in conveyancing – the sale and purchase of properties for owner occupancy and for investment, vendor finance or seller finance, mortgages, caveats, strata and land subdivisions, commercial leases, joint ventures and syndicates, mortgage and property disputes, and property litigation in NSW.

Cordato Partners, Lawyers also has Business Law, Travel & Tourism Law, and Wills & Estates practices which deal with transactions and court work.

Contact us by email –  or by phone (02) 8297 5600. Our office address is Level 5, 49 York Street, Sydney NSW 2000 (near Wynyard Station).

Disclaimer: Because this website contains advice of a general nature, it is not intended to be relied upon for any specific situation. For specific situations professional advice should be obtained. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

© Copyright 2022 Cordato Partners