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November 2001

Property Law Campaign Highlights Risks

Property lawyers around the country are helping to send a hard-hitting message to property buyers and sellers to get legal advice before they enter any commitments. The Law Society’s Property Law Section has launched a campaign, which tells people to "Do the right thing - see a lawyer first".

Chris Lynch says our firm, like others from around the country, is helping to pass on that message in our community, to our clients and the wider public through promotions in local media and other communications.

"For most people, buying or selling a house or a business will be the biggest financial transaction often involving substantially their life savings. Conveyancing - the legal work involved in completing a property transaction - is just one part of the service that lawyers provide to protect a client’s total interests. Before any contract is signed provision should be made for research into the legal status of the property and anything that might affect that, financial advice, advice on the negotiations that need to take place, and thought given to ownership structures. There are also matters like trusts, tax and estate planning that may need to be considered, particularly in light of the provisions of the new Property (Relationships) Act which comes into effect on the 1st February 2002."

Chris Lynch says these issues are even more important for those involved in commercial deals. "A lawyer is best placed to advise and negotiate terms that are going to be acceptable to you if you are leasing premises. Similarly you should never sign up to buy or sell a business without taking legal advice. There are many issues to consider, such as GST, value of stock and how to identify obsolete stock. There is also the value of goodwill and how it is to be calculated, value of plant and equipment, the length of the lease and rights of renewal, continuity of customers and right to continue to use brands - not to mention financing issues."

"Property buyers or sellers need to know that if they sign a contract without having a lawyer examine it carefully first, they run very real risks. At Inder Lynch we are able to offer professional independent legal advice on all of the issues facing property buyers and sellers. That’s the message our firm is helping to get across."