*The contents in this blog relates to legislation in New South Wales.
I remember when I first started work in this field, it would take weeks for a Purchaser to be ready to exchange on a Contract for Sale of the purchase of real estate.
This was very common and it was during this pre-exchange time that the Purchaser would conduct their ‘pre purchase enquiries‘. These included a pest and building report, and strata if required, and a lot of the time included a survey report as well. The need for a survey report was so that the Purchaser could make application to the local council for a building certificate which would disclose if there were any illegal structures on the land or if any structures not quite up to code.
Nowadays, the process from offer to exchange can sometimes take place in a matter of hours, leaving only the statutory cooling off period (generally five business days) to conduct pre-purchase enquiries.
Given this tight time frame it is no surprise that the popularity of a survey report and council building certificate have dropped away with many purchasers no longer wanting to have these carried out.
So what is a Purchaser to do when there is no time to carry out these additional pre purchase enquiries? That’s where Title Insurance fills the gap.
Title Insurance provides cover to purchasers by providing coverage for loss incurred by the purchaser (eventual owner) for defects that were existing at the time of the purchase but unknown to the purchaser. There are no ongoing premiums as there is a one off payment which is made when the policy is purchased.
So what is covered (generally speaking) by Title Insurance**? As discussed above, Title Insurance will cover the policy holder for the cost of complying with an enforcement action by a local council in relation to non-approved structures. The value of this is generally capped but will be paid to cover works such as demolition or any works required to make the structure to code.
Another thing that Title Insurance will provide cover for** are boundary and survey issues, which would have been disclosed if a Survey Report had been obtained. Title Insurance can assist with the relocation of a structure that is encroaching on an easement or adjoining property.
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At Turner Freeman, we have specialist property lawyers who will assess your case and provide personalised advice regarding your legal entitlements. Our property lawyers are located across NSW including offices in Penrith, Gloucester, Windsor, Sydney, Parramatta, Wollongong and Newcastle. We also travel to see clients at their homes.
** each policy and property is different and each must be considered on a case by case basis