Think Nicholsons

Feb 23

Property Update – Settlement Notices: Change of Name and a Face Lift

The Settlement Notice is no more. It has been revamped and upgraded and is now called a ‘Priority Notice', thanks to amendments to the Land Title Act which took effect on 1 January, 2018.

A Priority Notice does everything a Settlement Notice did, plus more. It’s like a next generation iPhone with a longer battery life and smarter features. 

However, before you get too carried away and start camping outside the Titles Office, let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about the Priority Notice:

The Purpose of a Priority Notice

Like a Settlement Notice, a Priority Notice seeks to protect your interest in a property.

Once registered, a Priority Notice will prevent the registration of (most) Title Office documents that are subsequently lodged with the Titles Office (unless they are permitted under the Notice), until such time as the Priority Notice lapses, is cancelled or withdrawn.

A caveat, however, will still register over a property despite the existence of a Priority Notice.

Broader Scope

Typically, a Settlement Notice was only ever lodged where a transaction involved the transfer of property or the lodgement of a mortgage. However, a Priority Notice now offers a wider scope.

A Priority Notice can be lodged if a person is, or will be, a party to any Title Office document that will affect a property or an interest in a property.  

By way of example, a Priority Notice may deal with interests such as a transfer, mortgage, lease, covenant or easement over a property, just to name a few.

Ability to Extend Priority Notice by 30 days

Like a Settlement Notice, a Priority Notice lapses after 60 days. That is, unless it is withdrawn or cancelled prior to that time.

However, the Priority Notice can now be extended by a further 30 days upon request. Therefore, the maximum timeframe can be 90 days before the Priority Notice lapses.

Lodging More Than One Priority Notice

Previously, only one Settlement Notice could be lodged over a Property.

In the case of a Priority Notice, there are no specific restrictions in the legislation that prohibits the lodgement of more than one Priority Notice after the first one lapses, is cancelled or withdrawn.

Important Warnings

It is important to ensure that you have the right to lodge a Priority Notice.

If a Priority Notice is deposited or extended without reasonable cause, or is not withdrawn after it is no longer needed, then you may be liable to compensate any person who suffers loss or damage as a result.

Conversely, if you have the right to lodge or extend a Priority Notice, but fail to do so, then this might have serious consequences and result in a loss of priority or interest in the property.

Therefore, it’s always important to have experts on your side. Just like an Apple technician guiding you through the technical aspects of a new iPhone, Nicholsons Solicitors can assist you with any further advice in relation to Priority Notices or Property Law matters generally. 

Matthew Russell

Matthew is experienced in a wide range of property and commercial matters and has a particular interest in leasing, management rights acquisitions and community titles law.