The GM Lawyers Terms and Conditions are set out below and are the basis on which we will provide our professional conveyancing services.
What is excluded from our fee?
The fee quoted includes acting on your behalf for matters that are usual in relation to a standard conveyance but excludes the following:
- (a) No financial/tax/matrimonial advice
- Advice regarding the commercial viability of the transaction or the tax, succession, matrimonial or other financial implications of the sale. If you require advice on the commercial viability or the tax implications of the sale you should seek the advice of a specialist financial adviser or tax professional such as your accountant.
- (b) Finance
- If you are buying a property it is up to you to apply for finance (if required) and tell us whether your finance approval is satisfactory. A finance approval is often subject to satisfactory valuation or other conditions. If so, it is up to you to arrange for the valuation and decide whether you are able to satisfy any condition of the finance approval before notifying us that you have finance approval. If you are selling a property it is up to you to notify your mortgagee of the sale and advise them that we are acting on your behalf. This will need to be done at least two weeks prior to settlement.
We will as part of the conveyance, need to liaise with your financier/ mortgagee to arrange settlement, however, any instructions you give us concerning your loan, the security documents or any certificates required by your financier are beyond the scope of this retainer.
- (c) Building and Pest
- If you are buying a property it is up to you to obtain any building and pest inspection reports and tell us whether it is satisfactory to you. We confirm that our retainer does not extend to giving advice regarding the building and pest inspection report.
- (d) Town planning information
The work to be done as part of this retainer does not include advice about any of the following issues unless you specifically instruct us to do so:-
- (i) Site Issues
The development potential of the site, whether nearby land is subject to development applications or development approvals which could affect the value or potential development of the site, whether any applications over the site are current or have lapsed, whether the site and structures on the site have all necessary approvals, whether any approvals over the site have lapsed, whether any old or historic approvals are still current and binding on the site. For example, without limiting the above, whether a Bushfire Management Plan affects the property. If you are concerned about the impact of any such plan on your use of the property (and whether one exists) then you should make your own enquiries with the relevant local council.
- (ii) Planning Laws
The laws about compensation for changes in the town planning scheme, deadlines to apply under superseded versions of the town planning scheme or other deadlines to make and pursue applications for approvals, whether the seller should assign certain rights to make applications to the buyer, any existing use rights, infrastructure charges which apply on development, whether the site is subject to call in powers by the government, any existing or proposed planning scheme amendments, the effect of the South East Queensland Regional Plan, the effect of current and future government planning policies.
- (iii) Other Laws
Local laws including local laws concerning the protection of vegetation, noise
including industrial noise, road noise, rail noise, aircraft noise and future
planned increases in noise levels from these and other sources, current and
future transport routes, vegetation controls, whether the site has been illegally
cleared in the past.
- (e) Advice in relation to adverse search results.
- If searches reveal adverse results we suggest you instruct us to give you specific
advice about your contractual rights and any remedies that you may have. The
advice to you will depend upon the nature of the adverse search result and the
circumstances of your contract.
- Buyer Beware – the contract does not protect against adverse search results in some circumstances.
- In Queensland the onus is on the buyer to undertake searches and satisfy itself in
relation to the property. There is no obligation on the seller to tell you about the
property or any of its defects or other issues, except for limited contractual warranties
and statutory disclosure.
Common practice is that contracts are usually signed first and searches conducted
This becomes a problem for buyers because adverse search results may not be
identified in sufficient time for the buyer to identify issues and exercise any remedy
against the seller under the contract.
Where the contract is not signed a buyer can protect itself against adverse search
results by including a special condition which can make the contract subject to
satisfactory searches or can oblige the seller to compensate the buyer in the event of
adverse search results.
Where the contract has already been signed there is generally no opportunity to add
special conditions. In some limited circumstances it may be possible to negotiate
amendments to the terms of the contract during the cooling off period or while the
contract is still conditional.
The searches which we recommend are essential for a buyer to conduct in the
conveyancing process and should be conducted as soon as possible. In that way:
- (i) it might be possible to identify an adverse search result prior to the contract
becoming unconditional in other respects; and
- (ii) if we are able to obtain search results early, we can give you advice on any
contractual or other rights you may have so you may exercise them while you
- The contract may not contain any rights to terminate if searches reveal that the
property is subject to flooding.
The contract may not contain any rights to terminate if searches reveal that the
improvements or any additions to the improvements, do not have appropriate
The Council records which exist about these searches vary depending on the local
authority in which the property is situated.
We recommend that a local government building records search be requested which, in
the case of some councils, will provide the following information:
- (i) details of approvals;
- (ii) details of inspections carried out;
- (iii) certificate of classification (if relevant); and
- (iv) property notices.
- The only opportunity under the contract to terminate usually exists if a property notice,
such as a show cause or enforcement notice, exists when the contract was entered
Adverse search results which reveal that approvals have not been obtained or
inspections have not been carried out do not give you the right to terminate under the
- (f) Survey
- We do not conduct a survey – this is your responsibility. Issues such as errors in the
boundaries, area of the land or encroachments by structures onto or from the land will
generally not be identified unless a survey is conducted.
- (g) Document Retention
- It is important for you to retain copies, and originals (where appropriate) of all
correspondence and documentation relating to your purchase as this may be required
for taxation, duties or other evidentiary purposes at a later date. For example, if the
property is held as an investment at any time, then your purchase documentation may
be relevant for Capital Gains Tax purposes.
- (h) Consumer Guarantees
- In some circumstances where goods are being supplied as part of the sale of the
property, the consumer guarantees contained in the Australian Consumer Law may
apply in relation to those goods. In such cases, you may have rights pursuant to
implied consumer guarantees following settlement. Where these guarantees apply
they cannot be contracted out of, however, our retainer does not extend to providing
advice in relation to the applicability or effect of the consumer guarantees in relation to
- (i) Eligibility for concessions/grants
- If you are selling and you have previously obtained the first home owners grant or a
first home, home or first home vacant land duty concession, your sale of the property
may affect your continued eligibility for these schemes. We do not check whether you
will have any obligation to refund a part\all of your entitlement to a concession or grant.
If you are buying we do not provide any advice about your eligibility for a government
grant, nor do we make these applications on your behalf.
- (j) National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) lease or arrangement
- Unless we have specifically agreed in writing with you, we will not be providing advice
on any NRAS lease or arrangement that may be related to your sale and it will be
beyond the scope of work and advice we will be providing. NRAS arrangements are
very complex in nature and may require specialist legal advice from within our firm or
from another firm. It is your responsibility to ensure you are receiving NRAS advice for
this transaction and if you choose not to you may suffer loss.
- (k) Disputes
- The fee quoted does not involve acting as your advocate in relation to a dispute with
the seller or a third party whether or not arising from a default by either party of their
obligations under the contract.
- (l) Other items not included.
- The fee quoted is not applicable to off the plan contracts,
the sale or purchase of commercial property, properties exceeding $1000000 and does
not include advice prior to signing the contract. Furthermore, the fee quoted does not
include any specific fees incurred in the conduct of the file including but not limited to
postage other than when dispatching transfer documents, additional search costs,
Stamp Duty, Titles Office charges to register the transfer, mortgage, caveat or other
dealing against the property, settlement and lodging agent’s fees and courier fees.
Where the transaction relates to the purchase or sale of a unit in a community titles
scheme our fee does not include providing any advice on the terms and conditions of
by-laws including exclusive use bylaws and agreements entered into by the body
corporate. Nor does it include advice on the consequences of any information
contained in the disclosure statement, Community Management Statement or Building
- Contract variations. In the event there are any contract variations requested where
our attendance is required, an additional fee based on our hourly rate will be charged.
We will not charge for variations of a typographical nature e.g. misspelling of names.