Property Dispute Lawyers Melbourne

Dispute Resolution & Litigation

We can help you protect your rights over property when disputes arise

Our property dispute lawyers in Melbourne are experts in resolving disputes related to ownership of property, landlord and tenant disputes, issues related to mortgages, body corporate disputes, and property disagreements involving family and friends.

Disputes that arise over property can be difficult to resolve quickly without the help of a property dispute lawyer. Getting trusted advice at the earliest opportunity will ensure the matter is dealt with fairly and sensibly, and your rights in property are protected. We represent owners, landlords, tenants, real estate agencies, buyers, sellers, and owners’ corporations.

The stakes are high when real estate transactions or property disputes get out of control. We promote alternative dispute resolution strategies with an aim to resolve your matter at the earliest opportunity in the most cost-effective manner, so that all parties can move on with their lives.

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Property Dispute FAQs

The term “caveat” is Latin for “beware”. A caveat serves as a warning that someone, other than the person who owns the property, is claiming a right or interest in the property.

A caveat will prevent certain dealings with the property, such as it being sold or mortgaged.

A caveat will remain on the property until it is withdrawn by the person who lodged the caveat, or alternatively, forcibly removed by the property owner.

People lodge caveats for various reasons, with the most common reasons being attributed to someone being owed money or when someone has competing interests in the property.

To lodge a caveat in Victoria, you must complete the Caveat Form (available on the Transfer of Land Act webpage) and have your identity verified. It is important to get legal advice before lodging a caveat to discuss your unique circumstances.  

Understanding the risks associated with lodging a caveat is essential as you cannot lodge a caveat without reasonable cause. Improperly lodging a caveat may make a person accountable for damages and legal costs to the property owner if the owner suffers damages due to the caveat having been lodged.

Once a caveat has been registered, it will stop property dealings being registered on the Title without the Title Office first notifying the caveator.

In Victoria, once the caveator has been notified of a transaction in relation to the property, they have 30-days to commence proceedings and stop the dealing. It is up to the caveator to enforce the caveat.

Caveats remain on the title indefinitely until it is removed by an application, court order, or by the Title Office.

The three main ways to remove a caveat include:

  1. Lodging a Withdrawal of Caveat. This is by far the fasted and most cost-effective method. By reaching out to the lawyer that lodged the caveat and requesting them to seek instructions from their client to have it removed is always the best place to start.
  2. Lodging a Lapsing Notice at the Title Office. By completing a Lapsing Notice form and including a certificate from a lawyer stating that in their opinion the caveator no longer has an interest in the property, this can be an effective method to remove a caveat.
  3. Supreme Court Application. If alternative methods have been unsuccessful, then you may need to make an application to the Supreme Court to have the caveat removed. The caveator will have to prove that the caveat should remain in place. If the caveator fails to commence proceedings to enforce the caveat, or does not attend court, the Court will likely have it removed.

You should seek immediate legal advice if your caveat has lapsed or been removed. You cannot lodge another caveat over the title of the same property on the same or similar grounds without leave of the Court.

You can complete a property title search via the LANDATA website to determine if you are listed on the property title.

If you believed you were the owner of a property but do not appear on the title, you should seek advice as soon as possible from an experienced property dispute lawyer to understand your legal interest in the property, or if you may be entitled to claim compensation.

This situation often arises amongst family members, de facto partners, and friends.

If someone makes a promise to another person, offering an interest in the promisor’s land or property, and as a result of that promise the other person contributes to the property or acts to their own detriment, the law will ensure the promisor keeps their word.

These are complex matters to navigate, and it is imperative to get trusted advice from someone who understands the best dispute resolution methods to resolve these matters to ensure your interest in property can be claimed.

Meet the Commercial Litigation team

Our dedicated team of lawyers who practice exclusively in commercial litigation can assist with all types of property disputes.

Jeff Garrett - Legal Practice Director - Wills & Estates, Estate Litigation, Property & Commercial, Compensation Law, Commercial Litigation, Criminal Law, Racing & Equine Law

Jeff

Garrett

Legal Practice Director
Wills & Estates, Estate Litigation, Property & Commercial, Compensation Law, Commercial Litigation, Criminal Law, Racing & Equine Law
Charles Lethbridge - Partner - Commercial Litigation

Charles

Lethbridge

Partner
Commercial Litigation
Amanda is the Department Manager and Senior Paralegal for not only the Estate Litigation and Commercial Litigation Departments, but also oversees both Equine Law and Criminal Law divisions

Amanda

Heather

Department Manager
Estate Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Criminal Law, Racing & Equine Law
Georgia Taylor - Senior Associate - Commercial Litigation, Racing & Equine Law

Georgia

Taylor

Senior Associate
Commercial Litigation, Racing & Equine Law

Jade

Carlson

Senior Associate
Commercial Litigation
Timothy holds a Diploma in Sports Management from Southern Cross University which he completed prior to starting a Bachelor of Laws at Bond University. Timothy received his Bachelor of Laws in 2017, graduating with two specialisations; General Legal Practice and Corporate and Commercial Law.

Timothy

Wright

Lawyer
Commercial Litigation

James

Griffin

Lawyer
Commercial Litigation
With an interest in Public Relations and Law, Chloe took the opportunity to join the firm and became part of the Administration team in February 2020.

Chloe

Smith

Senior Paralegal
Estate Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Criminal Law, Racing & Equine Law
Danielle completed a law and public policy internship at the Legal Resources Centre in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2019 where she worked closely with solicitors on matters relating to socio-economic rights violations.

Danielle

Moore

Paralegal
Estate Litigation, Commercial Litigation