Avoid property settlement fines by acting in a timely manner

When it comes to choosing a settlement agent, time is of the essence.

After finalising a contract, buyers have only two months to nominate a settlement agent and have them lodge the contract with the Office of State Revenue. Failure to submit a contract in time can result in hefty fines, but a recent settlement case has shown that not everyone is aware of the time limit.

In this case, a Perth homeowner had bought a new property, and the purchase was conditional upon the man selling his existing house. Months later, after selling his home, the man nominated us as his settlement agent for the sale and asked us to handle his purchase as well – but by this time, the first contract was already well overdue for lodgement!

Contracts need to be lodged within the two-month period regardless of whether they’re conditional or not, so as a result, our client incurred a fine of over $100 from the Office of State Revenue. As these fines are calculated based on the purchase price of the home, the fine could easily be much bigger for other clients.

If the contract to buy had been sent to us shortly after the purchase, it would have been lodged on time and penalties would have been avoided, so it’s important that clients nominate a settlement agent and have their agent forward the contract on to their conveyancer in a timely manner.

To avoid fines and a tarnished reputation, nominate a settlement agent within two months of signing the Offer and Acceptance.

Image by Mixy Lorenzo via Flickr.