11th August Launnie Council

Conveyancing & Property Law

When buying or selling real estate, you need to be confident that you are getting professional, expert advice. Our experienced conveyancing team and property lawyers will guide you through the process of buying or selling property and help protect your interests every step of the way. We can help whether you are buying or selling a home, some land, an investment, or commercial property in Launceston or around Tasmania

What is Conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring the ownership of real estate from one party to another. It ensures that property transactions are legally binding and conducted according to the relevant processes and legal rights of both buyers and sellers. While conveyancing is a common process, Tasmania has specific regulations and procedures when it comes to conveyancing and property law, and it is important for all parties involved to understand the local nuances.

Conveyancing typically begins with the negotiation of a sale contract between the buyer and seller. This contract outlines the terms and conditions of the property sale, including the purchase price, settlement date, and any special conditions. In Tasmania, a real estate agent will usually prepare the contract of sale and deal with all offers and negotiation of key terms. Before signing a contract, or making an offer to purchase property, it is strongly recommended that you take the contract to a conveyancer or property lawyer first who will explain the key terms and conditions and help you make informed decisions.

Cooling Off

An important feature of Tasmania’s property law relates to cooling off. A cooling-off period is a set amount of time in which buyers can change their minds after they sign a contract for the purchase of real estate. In some states, there is a cooling-off period mandated by law, which means that it applies to most purchases. In Tasmania, the situation is slightly different. While there is no law that mandates the provision of a cooling-off period, the Standard Form Contract for Sale of Real Estate in Tasmania (2023) does allow for 3 business days of cooling-off. However, quite often the selling agent will prepopulate the contract to waive the buyer’s right to this period. It is important for buyers to check their contracts to ensure that there is provision for cooling off if they need this time to conduct due diligence, such as property inspections or obtaining finance approval. 

Property Transfer Duties

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​D​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​uty (previously known as stamp duty) is a taxation charged by the Tasmanian State Government under the Duties Act 2001 when an interest in dutiable property is acquired. Duty can apply to transfers of real estate (including gifts and inheritances), sales of business, trusts over dutiable property, easements and covenants and acquisition of shareholders’ interests in dutiable property. 

The amount payable varies depending on the purchase price and the property’s use, such as residential or commercial. Duty is payable within three months of the date of the dutiable transaction (usually the date of settlement) and is payable by the purchaser. Buyers must factor in this cost when budgeting for their property purchase, as it can significantly impact the overall cost of the transaction.

Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common?

The way that legal interests are held in property between co-owners is an important consideration when it comes to asset protection, succession, and estate planning. If you are buying a property with someone else, we will ask how your respective interests in that property should be held.

If you hold property as joint tenants, the interests are held as a whole and cannot be separately apportioned. Joint tenants must deal with the property collectively and joint tenancy is subject to the rules of survivorship. If a co-owner dies, their share passes to the remaining owner/s. Joint tenancy is typical between spouses and domestic partners, however, in certain circumstances, may not always be the best option.

Property held as tenants in common can specify the individual shares held by each owner which need not be equal and may be transferred, sold, or left to a beneficiary in a Will. Tenants in common may be suitable when the co-owners are business partners or investors and/or the contributions to the property are disproportionate. Again, though, it is important to obtain professional advice and understand the implications of this form of property ownership.