Jargon Buster

Guide to Legal Jargon

Confused by Conveyancing Solicitors legal jargon? We have compiled a list of frequently used terminology used in conveyancing to assist you.

The levy that the Body Corporate charges each owner to pay for everyday expenses associated with the Body Corporate property complex. For example, payment for a gardener who takes care of common property gardens would be made from the Body Corporate's administrative fund.

Assign:
Means to transfer.

Assignee:
Would be the Buyer.

Assignor:
Is the person who is transferring. For example, in the case of a conveyance, the Assignor: would be the Seller.

For properties on Group Titles, the Body Corporate is the legal entity which manages the complex, holds meetings and takes care of the legal responsibilities of the complex.
Each owner of a lot with the Group Title are members of the Body Corporate.

These are the rules and regulations which govern what an owner (or tenant) can do within the complex. For example, a Body Corporate may have a by-law which prohibits animals within the complex.

A Certificate of Title (Title Deed) is the record of ownership of a property. In Queensland, Certificate of Titles have now been computerised and are stored electronically by the Government.

Chattels are the moveable, tangible articles of property that are not affixed to the land. For example furniture is a chattel and remains the possession of the Seller when the property is sold. The opposite of a chattel is a fixture (for example ceiling fans) which are affixed to the property and are sold with the property. See also "Fixtures".

For Group Title complexes (eg. Apartment Buildings or Townhouse complexes), the common property means all property in the complex that is held 'in common' by all owners and is managed and insured by the Body Corporate. For example, a swimming pool located within the complex would be common property of the Body Corporate.

For Group Title complexes (eg. Apartment Buildings or Townhouse complexes), this document is registered with the government which includes the following information:

• By-Laws which are the rules and regulation of the complex
• The levies (administrative and sinking fund levies) which are being, special levies and forecast budgets
• Lot Entitlement Schedule which shows the lot entitlement for each lot owner.

Settlement (or Completion) occurs when the Buyer pays the balance purchase price in exchange for the Seller handing over the ownership of the property.

The contract is dated on the day it is signed by both parties (eg, both the Buyer and Seller).

This is the document that a bank holding mortgage over the property would provide when the loan has been paid in full.

An interest or obligation existing over a property in favour of a person other than the registered owner. A mortgage is a common form of encumbrance.

An easement is a right of way over another person's property Eg. for a driveway.

Where property is owned by more than one person, it may be held as joint tenants or tenants in common. If the property is owned as joint tenants, it means that:

• All owners have equal shares in the property.
• Upon the death of one owner, their share will automatically passes to the other owner.
• The terms of the deceased owners will be irrelevant.

Commonly, married or defacto couples hold property as Joint Tenants.
See also "Tenants in Common"

Fixtures are improvements which are affixed to the land or house on the land. For example, a ceiling fan is a fixture, whereas a portable (pedestal) fan which can be moved from room to room is a chattel. Fixtures are sold with the property. A general rule of thumb is that if the item is affixed, that is, it is firmly secured onto the land or house and cannot be removed without damage, then it qualifies as a fixture.

See also "Chattels"

A mortgage is the security taken by a lender of money over real property (eg. a house). The effect of a mortgage is that if the borrower does not pay the money back to the lender in the amounts and at the time agreed, the lender can force a sale of the borrower's property to pay back the loan.

A mortgagee is the person who takes a mortgage over the property. Commonly this is a bank or financial institution as security for a loan.

A mortgagor is the person who gives a mortgage over the property they own. For example, if you borrow money and grant a mortgage, you are a mortgagor.

This is the amount that the lender (eg. a bank) requires a seller to pay at settlement be released (or discharged) from the property being sold.

A Power of Attorney is a written document whereby the principal gives another person the power to act on his/her behalf (eg for signing documents, operating bank accounts).

There are two types of Powers or Attorney available in most Australian states:

• General Power of Attorney - In the event that the principal loses capacity (either physically or mentally) the power of attorney automatically terminates.
• Enduring Power of Attorney - An enduring Power of Attorney remains valid even if the principal becomes incapacitated.

A Power of Attorney:

• can be terminated/changed by the principal at anytime
• their powers can be limited and;
• terminate on the death of the principal

A sinking fund levy is charged by the Body Corporate in order to have a fund of money to pay for long term expenses of running or improving the complex. An example when the Body Corporate would use the Sinking Fund is to repaint the complex.

We hope this Conveyancing Guide to Legal Jargon has been helpful. If you have further questions please see our FAQ’s (frequently asked questions) or call us on 1300 132 088.

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