Caveat - Let the person beware.
As the Latin definition for the word caveat (above) suggests, a caveat is a notice to desist from an act awaiting the decision of the court, consequently resulting in a warning that action will be taken under certain conditions. A caveat is valid under the Land Act 1994 (Qld), as it establishes an interest in a lot, lease, sub-lease, licence or reserve.
The purpose of a caveat is to prevent additional interests being registered on the property which may affect the interest documented in the caveat, without consent of the person who lodged the caveat (the ‘caveator’). The purpose of this blog is to review the circumstances in which a caveat can be extinguished from the title of a property.
A caveat has affect from the date and time it is endorsed by the Registrar when lodged until it is either withdrawn, removed, cancelled or lapses, each of which are discussed further below.
A caveator can withdraw a caveat by lodging a Form 14 – Request to Withdraw.
The person receiving the caveat (the ‘caveatee’) can apply to the Supreme Court at any time to have the caveat removed. It is important to note that the caveat is still enforceable until a decision is made by the courts or the caveat is withdrawn.
A caveat may be cancelled if the Registrar receives a request to cancel and is content that the interest alleged has ceased, been abandoned or withdrawn; settled by agreement; or the interest claimed does not warrant a caveator to prevent other interests to be registered. The caveator will be notified at least seven days before it will be cancelled, and if the Registrar does not receive a response the caveat will be cancelled.
A caveat can automatically lapse if the caveatee serves a notice on the caveator to start proceedings to establish the interest claimed, and notifies the Registrar of this within 14 days of service. If the caveator has not commenced proceedings and has not notified the Registrar within 14 days the caveat will lapse.
On the other hand, if the caveatee does not act, the caveator can commence proceedings and notify the Registrar, to establish the interest within three months of lodging the caveat. The caveat will lapse within three months if a proceeding has not commenced (or the Registrar has not been notified of the commencement).
It is worth noting that a lapsed caveat will still appear on a title. The obligation is on the caveatee to apply to remove the same.
If you find yourself having a caveat registered over the title of your property, contact Grauf O’Brien Lawyers so that we can review the circumstances and advise you on potential solutions.