Land Title Explained: Part 1

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Land titles can be a bit hard to understand for the average home owner or buyer. Often a compilation of badly copied documents with unreadable scribbles over the top, and vintage-age surveyor drawings using the imperial system of measurements combined with degrees/minutes/seconds for boundary angles, trying to read these documents can prove challenging.

However, understanding what information they communicate is important, as it is these (sometimes cryptic) documents which can tell you what you can, or cannot, do with the property that you own, or are looking to own.

About Land Titles

A land title is an official record of who owns a piece of land. Information included in a land title are site boundary length and angle (as well as properties/access around the property), mortgages, covenants, caveats, and easements.


So what are restrictions on a land title, or can title owners do whatever they like with the entire property no matter what?
Though a buyer/owner may hold a land title, this, however, does not mean that he/she owns assets (pipes, electrical, or drainage) that may run through the property. These below to relevant authorities still, and have regulations concerning any building work on or near them. The area around any asset is called an easement, with the size of this area also defined in the Certificate of Title, or accessible through the relevant authority.

A caveat is a document that any person with legal interest in a property can lodge at Land Victoria. After recording, a caveat note will appear on the title, which can restrict the use of a title for future owners. However for properties with caveats, it’s not doom and gloom: caveats can be lodged and withdrawn.
A covenant is a written agreement between a seller and purchaser of a piece of land, restricting what the land can be used for. This can restrict the design of home that a purchaser can build (for example, only brick can be used).

All these restrictions are accessible information through a Certificate of Title.

So what types of titles exist, what is the difference between them, and how will this affect a buyer / owner financially? Check in for Land Titles Explained: Part 2 next month for this information and more.