Owning a property in Queensland that has a caveatable interest can be very frustrating for your future plans. Therefore, you may want to remove it from the title of your property. There are four ways that you can remove a caveat in Queensland. These are:

  • by it lapsing;
  • through an application to the Supreme Court;
  • by registrar’s cancellation; or
  • by the caveator withdrawing it.

This article will explain these methods so that you can go forward with your future plans for your Queensland property.

What is a Caveat?

Caveat is a Latin word meaning ‘warning’. In the context of land, the registration of a caveat over a property title serves as a warning (or injunction) to other people attempting to deal with the property. It warns that the person who lodged the caveat (the caveator) has an interest in the property.

Lapsing

In Queensland, a caveat is either lapsing or non-lapsing. Under the law in Queensland, non-lapsing caveats are those that are lodged:

  • by the registered owner;
  • with the consent of the registered owner;
  • with a court order; or
  • by the registrar of land titles.

All other caveats that do not fall under the above categories are lapsing caveats. This means that they will be removed from the land title once they have lapsed. A lapsing caveat will automatically lapse three months after the caveator has lodged it. This is unless the caveator starts court proceedings to ensure the caveat can remain on the title.

If you want to lapse the caveat earlier than three months, you can serve notice on the caveator. This will notify them that they must commence legal proceedings within 14 days to prove why the caveat should remain on the land title. At this point, you should also notify the registrar that you have served notice. If the caveator does not prove why the caveat should remain on the title, the caveat will lapse. You can then request for its removal by the registrar.

If you choose to not follow this method of serving notice, you can apply to the Supreme Court directly to remove the caveat.

Application to Supreme Court

An alternative to the lapsing notice is to apply to the Queensland Supreme Court for an order to remove a caveat. You can make this application regardless of whether or not the caveator has been formally served with the application. The court has the discretion to determine these orders. 

You should use this method if:

  • you cannot locate the caveator;
  • the caveator has since deceased; or
  • you are unaware of who the caveator is.

For example, the caveator might be located overseas because they are evading the service of a counterclaim in a related dispute. If so, this method would be useful to help you remove the caveat from your property.

Cancellation

Another option exists for the registrar of land titles to cancel a caveat. This occurs if you lodge a request to cancel and the registrar is satisfied that the:

  • interest under the caveat claimed has ceased, been abandoned or withdrawn;
  • caveat claim has been settled by agreement or otherwise satisfied; or
  • nature of the issue does not entitle the caveator to prevent another lodged registration.

In this case, the registrar must notify the caveator of the cancellation at least seven days before cancelling the caveat.

Withdrawal by Caveator

Finally, a caveat may be removed by the caveator if they lodge a withdrawal of caveat request with the land titles registry. You may achieve this by negotiating a settlement with the caveator. Aside from lapsing, this it is often the most cost-effective and quickest method to resolve a caveat dispute.

Key Takeaways

When looking to remove a caveat on your property, you should pick the best method based on the urgency and reason for removing the caveat. If the caveator lodged the caveat with your consent, then it is non-lapsing. However, if the caveat is a lapsing caveat, you can remove it by notifying the caveator or by applying to the Supreme Court.

If you don’t do anything to a lapsing caveat and the caveator hasn’t begun court proceedings, it will lapse automatically after three months. If you have any questions or need assistance removing a caveat from your property in Queensland, get in touch with our LegalVision’s leasing lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

Emma Heuston
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