AirBnB here to stay (for now)

Airbnb has undoubtedly changed the short-term leasing market in Australia and many Owners Corporations are unhappy with the change.  In response, one Owners Corporation in Woolhara passed a by-law which had the effect of banning short-term letting in the building.  In a landmark decision by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“NCAT”), it held that the Owners Corporation did not have power to make such a by-law.

Mum & Dad Lenders – Watch Out!

The recent increase in young buyers using funds from mum and dad was sharply in focus in recent NSW Court of Appeal decision which highlighted the importance of parents having a properly written agreement with their children, particularly in the case of marriage breakdowns.  In Chaudhary v Chaudhary [2017] NSWCA 222, a father signed a statutory declaration as part of a bank loan obtained by his son and daughter-in-law stating that the funds he advanced towards the purchase were a gift that would not be recalled.  The father later paid the stamp duty and advanced a further amount, meaning that he advanced over $1.2 million in total as part of the transaction.

Be aware of transfer duty for your beneficiaries when making a will

The NSW Supreme Court’s decision in Tay v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWSC 338 (“Tay case”) is an example of how distribution of the deceased’s estate to beneficiaries may create unfortunate tax consequences for the beneficiaries.  Usually, a stamp duty exemption will apply to the distribution of an estate if it is done in accordance with the will of the deceased.  In the Tay case, the beneficiaries under the will agreed to a particular manner of distribution of an asset which led to duty of $28 million. 

Directors’ Days Are Numbered

Every director of an Australian company will be identified by a number in a Federal Government crack down on “illegal phoenix activity” – the name given to the practice of stripping and transfering assets from one company to another to avoid paying liabilities to creditors.

The purpose of the Director Identification Number (“DIN”), along with other measures, is to enable the Federal Government to identify directors and their relationships between various individuals and entities in order to deter and penalise phoenix activity.

Council avoids liability

In our December 2014 Law Report we discussed a recent High Court decision that found that builders of a strata-titled apartment complex did not owe a duty of care to the Owners Corporation or to purchasers in that strata scheme to avoid economic loss resulting from defective building works.  Now the Court of Appeal in New South Wales has found that a local Council, as a principal certifying authority, did not owe a duty to avoid economic loss to a purchaser of property in respect of which the Council had issued an occupation certificate.  The Court of Appeal found that the subsequent purchasers in this case were not “vulnerable” in that the purchasers could rely on statutory warranties under the Home Building Act and the purchasers could have protected themselves further by appropriate warranties in the sale contract in relation to latent defects.