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Purchasing or selling land? Beware!

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

The land you are buying or selling may be encumbered or have restrictions. These restrictions may be registered on the title, but sometimes they are not. Being aware of these prior to buying or selling land is important; as legal issues may arise with the conveyancing process if you are not.


A caveat is designed to protect an existing right in the land. They are used by someone who is not registered on the title but has some proprietary interest in the land.

It does prevent a dealing in the land without first notifying the Caveator.


An easement is a right held by a third party over the land. Common examples of these are for services such as electricity, water and sewerage. Less common are a right of way or access easements.

The easements transfer with the land and binds subsequent owners.

Section 173 Agreements

A section 173 agreement is a formal agreement between the land owner and the local council. The agreement is registered on the title and restricts the way the land can be used or developed.

There are many different restrictions, sellers must disclose these when selling and buyers need to be aware of when purchasing.


A restrictive covenant is similar to a section 173 agreement but is a private agreement between land owners and is not enforced by Government or Council. The covenant is likely to be recorded against the certificate of title and will impact subsequent owners.

The process of removing or varying a covenant is complicated and can be expensive so it is important you seek legal advice to ensure you are protected.

Building envelopes

A building envelope is a restriction on the property that only allows you to build/construct within designated parts of the land. It is important to make enquiries with Council regarding the land.

Soil tests

If you are buying vacant land, we recommend that a soil test be carried out prior to purchasing the land, unless the vendor has a recent report to provide you.

A soil test will indicate the soils characteristics and if any rectification work needs to be undertaken prior to building.

Why Nevin Lenne Gross?

Nevin Lenne Gross lawyers fully review the title and all other relevant documentation to ensure that you are fully informed and understand any issues that may arise.

With many years of experience, we know what we are looking for and what you will need advice on.

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