Legal Articles

The Queensland Government has recently passed laws which will effectively end the legal effect and status of Certificates of Title (title deeds) issued with respect to land in Queensland. Queensland has operated an electronic titling system for many years now, however, a paper title deed could still be sought for various purposes if the proprietor requested that one be issued. The primary purpose associated with obtaining a paper Certificate of Title was to prevent further dealings with the land from being lodged (such as a transfer of title, and registration of leases, mortgages and certain charges) without the paper Certificate… Continue Reading

New GST on residential property

Effective from 1 July 2018, the Federal Government has amended the GST law with respect to the sale of residential property. If you are selling: 1. New residential premises; or 2. Potential residential land, then at the settlement of your sale, a cheque in the sum of the GST payable on the transaction will need to be given from the sale proceeds and paid by the seller immediately to the Australian Taxation Office. In other words, either 10% of the GST-exclusive purchase price or, if the margin scheme applies to the transaction, then 7% of the purchase price will be… Continue Reading

Rules for Airbnb Gold Coast

An increasing number of Gold Coast locals using sharing-economy accommodation giant Airbnb have approached ABKJ Lawyers with concerns regarding their liability under Gold Coast local law. Many of them have approached us following receipt of a Show Cause Notice from the Gold Coast City Council – a document which, in most circumstances – effectively requires them to immediately cease their Airbnb operation or face severe financial penalties (on the basis that the correct planning approvals have not been obtained). In many cases, the inconvenient truth is that at present, the Gold Coast City Council has indisputable power to prevent ‘unlawful’… Continue Reading

airbnb & the law part 2

Part 2 – Local Council Regulations This is the final part of a two-part article on the issue of the regulation of Airbnb listings. Part one of this article can be found here. Irrespective of whether or not a lot is in a community titles scheme, local council regulations will apply. As local laws and city plans continue to change and update, a host can rely on the rules that were in force at the time they initiated their listing, even if they are now superseded. The Gold Coast City Plan Version 4 (the ‘City Plan’) notes at 1.1 that… Continue Reading

airbnb & the law part 1

Launched in 2008, San Francisco-based hospitality marketplace Airbnb is presenting uniquely modern hurdles for regulatory systems ill-prepared for sharing economy services. The website, which allows lot owners to rent out their spaces; whether a whole apartment in Surfers Paradise, a treehouse in the Currumbin Valley, or a bedroom in Robina, has proven to be a popular alternative to traditional models of accommodation. Airbnb boasts over 2 million listings in over 191 countries, with more than 120,000 of those listings located in Australia. The Gold Coast, with its beaches, rainforests, innumerable attractions and recently, the Commonwealth Games, is an Airbnb stronghold…. Continue Reading

fair overseas tax

The latest Federal budget proposed a number of amendments to the capital gains tax regime. A particular focus of these changes are directed to addressing housing affordability in Australia while also seeking to improve compliance by foreign investors of their tax obligations. These amendments built upon regulations introduced in last year’s budget. The current regulations apply where two requirements are met: Relevant Asset: There must be a transfer of a Relevant Asset. Currently for an asset to be considered a Relevant Asset it must be some form of a real property interest with a market value of $2 million or… Continue Reading

Retail Lease Assignment Changes

Changes Under The Retail Shop Leases Act Are you fully aware of your disclosure obligations under the Retail Shop Leases Act 1994? If you are buying or selling a retail business with a lease, or if you are a landlord involved in such a transaction, it’s important that you are aware of your disclosure responsibilities under the Retail Shop Leases Act 1994 (the Act). There have been recent changes to the Act so even if you are familiar, this article is a good opportunity to refresh your knowledge. As a starting point, it may be helpful to review the meaning… Continue Reading


When you purchase property with another person, your solicitor will ask you: Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common? The purpose of this article is to explain the difference between these terms and how your decision can affect you in the future, particularly from an estate planning perspective. Joint Tenants Joint tenancy is a concept where each owner of a property holds the exact same (and equal) interest as all of the other owners. All joint tenants are therefore entitled to an equal share of profits if the property is rented or sold. Similarly, all joint tenants are equally responsible for… Continue Reading

Footsteps from above

The issue of footsteps on the ceiling (and noise generally) in strata titled buildings is a vexing issue for many committees and owners.  Given the increased propensity towards high density living in our cities, this is an issue that isn’t going away. Even the sturdiest and newest buildings will probably permit some sound transference between lots in certain circumstances; that is a feature of strata living that prospective residents ignore at their peril. However, the issue can generally be managed through the use of appropriate materials and construction techniques. Hard floors are “in” at the moment, with many owners looking… Continue Reading

Gold Coast Canal at Budds Beach

With over 400 kilometres of constructed canal frontage on the Gold Coast and an ever increasing number of recreational water users, the potential exists for conflict between waterfront property owners and people using the adjacent waterways. Any waterfront property owners or regular water users reading this could probably relate a relevant story. The writer has personally observed an upset waterfront property owner throwing rocks at a kayak fisherman, fishing in the adjacent canal, encouraging him in an enthusiastic fashion to “get off his water”. So who owns the water? Like most things, this is a subjective question. However, the starting… Continue Reading

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