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What is a caveat?

A caveat is “warning” that is registered on the title of land. Its purpose is to put a potential buyer on notice that someone is claiming an interest in that land. Most caveats prevent the owner from transferring the property or granting further interests such as a mortgage.

The legislation regulating caveats in Western Australia is the Transfer of Land Act 1893 (WA).

When can I lodge a caveat?

Only a person who has a proprietary interest (which can be legal or equitable) in the land can lodge a caveat. You can’t lodge a caveat on someone’s land simply because that person owes you money.

In any caveat dispute, the person who lodged the caveat must have a “caveatable interest” in the property, allowing them to lodge the caveat. If a person lodges a caveat without a caveatable interest, the consequences can be costly.

For example, if you lodge a caveat and it prevents the sale or transfer of a property, then the property owner may suffer financial loss as a result. If it is later found that your caveat was not properly justified by a legal or equitable interest, then you may be ordered to pay compensation to the registered proprietor.

How can I remove a caveat from my land?

On request from a registered land owner, Landgate will issue a notice to a person who had lodged a caveat saying that the caveat will automatically lapse within 21 days unless that party obtains an order from the Supreme Court extending the operation of the caveat. This is how most caveat disputes start.

If you have received a notice that your caveat will lapse in 21 days, and you wish to dispute it and have your caveat extended, please contact Douglas Cheveralls Lawyers.

Similarly, if there is a caveat on your property, and you want it removed, contact us and we can assist.