Caveats are often lodged when parties are in dispute over property matters. The caveat preserves the status quo of the property title to allow time for the parties to resolve the dispute, either between themselves or through the court system.
This page provides general information about caveats. However, caveats are a complex area of law, and relevant considerations will depend on the individual circumstances of each case. If you intend to lodge a caveat or are concerned about a caveat affecting your property title, you should seek advice specific to your circumstances from a lawyer.
Lodging a caveat
Under Queensland legislation (Land Title Act 1994, ss. 121–131), a person claiming an interest in a property can lodge a caveat. However, the interest claimed must be of a type that has been recognised by the courts as capable of sustaining a caveat. As this can be very complex, anyone considering lodging a caveat should first seek legal advice.
Any person who lodges a caveat without a proper basis may be liable to compensate anyone else who suffers loss or damage as a result of the caveat.
After a caveat is lodged
After a caveat is lodged, Titles Queensland checks to make sure it meets particular legislative and administrative requirements. If the caveat meets these requirements, it will be registered. However, registration of the caveat does not prove that the interest claimed in the caveat actually exists — this is for the courts to determine.
The length of time for which a caveat affects a title depends on the nature of the caveat and the steps taken by the parties. In most cases, the duration of a caveat ranges from 14 days to three months. However, action taken by the person who lodged the caveat may change the time frame so that the caveat remains effective until a court makes a determination as to the property dispute. It is therefore important for parties to seek legal advice relevant to their own circumstances.
Do you need more information about caveats? We suggest contacting a qualified legal professional.