Important Title Considerations When Buying a Property

Mortgage contract for the sale of a real estate property with a pen and house keys

When you buy a property, it’s essential to conduct the proper due diligence. This includes checking for title issues. Property titles give an accurate and up-to-date picture of legal ownership of land in New Zealand. Property title records also provide information about the rights and restrictions registered against the property title, which we will look into below.

What Information is in a Title?

A record of the title gives you all the information about the property held by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), including:

  • The owner of the property (proprietor) – this confirms who legally owns the property. This should be checked against who is selling the property.
  • The type of title (estate) – this outlines what kind of title it is and on what basis the property is owned( for example free hold, leasehold, unit title, cross-lease). This can affect what you can do with the property and who you have to consult.

Rights and Restrictions

A record of title may also be subject to rights and restrictions, such as:

  • Easements – a right to use the land for a specific limited purpose. For example a right of way or a power or water easement.
  • Covenants – restricts or allows certain activities on a property. For example covenants could say, you may not be able to cut down particular trees or build a house over a certain height. Or they could restrict the type of building materials you can use.
  • Caveats – a notice that someone other than the owner claims an interest in the property. For example, if a family member has loaned money to buy the land but hasn’t registered a mortgage on the title yet they might register a caveat to protect their interest in the property.

If the property has a mortgage, that is also recorded, as it gives rights in the property to the entity that has provided a loan for the property.

Getting a Property Title Search

A title search is essential for understanding important details about the property you are buying that can have an impact on what you can do with the property. It’s a good idea to get assistance from a conveyancer and property lawyer to conduct a title search to ensure any legal implications aren’t overlooked as you may find other less common interests on a title.

Land Information Memorandum (LIM) Reports

A LIM report is prepared by the local council when requested and provides additional information about the property such as:

  • Zoning
  • Any rates owing on the land
  • Stormwater or sewage drains
  • Any Heritage New Zealand protection
  • Special land features such as erosion or flooding
  • Permits, building consents or requisitions
  • Other certificates issued by the local council or building consent authority
  • Any notices given to the council by network utility operators
  • Any notices given to the council by any statutory organisation that has the power to classify land or buildings for any purpose.

Contact Our Property Law Solicitors Today

If you need help with buying or selling a property, consult the team of conveyancers and property lawyers at Carlile Dowling. Our team has provided trusted legal advice for more than 130 years regarding property transactions as well as family law, immigration, employment law, commercial property law and more.

Get in touch today by calling 06 927 8150 or contact us online.

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