10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Caveats and Mortgages

By: Caroline Van

mortgage and caveats bondi junction

Caveats and mortgages are common terms used in obtaining finance and loans from banks – but what exactly are they? We’re here to clear up the technical meaning of the words so you’re in the know next time you walk into a bank to get that finance approved for your next property purchase!

What is a Caveat?

  1. A caveat is a form of injunction – it’s basically an order made by a court requiring a person to do or stop doing a particular act. It essentially prevents the owner of the property from selling the property without the caveator’s (the person who filed the caveat) consent.
  2. A caveat generally prevents the registration of any transactions affecting a property e.g. transfer, mortgage or lease) on a property. It notifies the caveator when a third party is attempting to register a dealing on the property or where the owner is transferring the property.
  3. A caveat does not give a caveator a right to possess the property or sell the property.
  4. You can lodge a caveat if you have an interest in the property that you cannot protect by registration of a mortgage. However, if you lodge a caveat without reasonable cause, you may be liable to pay compensation to the owner if they suffer any losses or damages as a result of the caveat.
  5. Caveats are usually used as some kind of security particularly for some loans. The borrower (and owner of the property) can authorise the lender to lodge a caveat on the property.

What is a Mortgage?

  1. mortgage is actually not a loan as most people would think. It is a registrable form of security that can guarantee the payment of a debt or loan.
  2. A mortgage creates a security interest (legal claim) in the property with the home owner (also known as the mortgagor).
  3. A mortgagee (the lender in a mortgage, typically a bank or lender) does not have title to or possession of the property. But if a borrower (aka mortgagor) is in default on a loan, the lender (aka mortgagee) can exercise certain remedies if the borrower defaults (see point 10 below).
  4. An unregistered mortgagee does not automatically have statutory powers to sell the property as a registered mortgagee. It is not uncommon for banks and lenders (mortgagees) to send borrowers with letters of demand requesting payment of the loan before seeking to enforce their rights through court.
  5. The following remedies are available to a mortgagee when the mortgagor defaults:
    A. take possession of the property occupied by a tenant by giving the tenant a written notice explaining that the mortgagee is taking possession and that the tenant now pays the rent to the mortgagee; or
    B. bringing Court proceedings against the mortgagor for:
  • possession of the property; or
  • selling the property; or
  • obtaining a monetary judgment; or
  • obtain an order for foreclosure.

If you would like to know more about Caveats and how they operate, you can read more about it in our article. For more information regarding Caveats and Mortgages or legal advice on property law, check out our full suite of services here.

At Lazarus Legal, our lawyers make use of their extensive experience to provide our clients with timely, practical and expert advice. If you require the law to be on your side, call us on 02 8644 6000.

6 replies
  1. Gaynor dysart
    Gaynor dysart says:

    Hello, I have a unregistered financial interest in my son’s property, house and land, can I take a caveat to protect my interest and can I do this without using a lawyer. I would want the caveat in place until the property sold and I receive funds owed to me, this is likely to be years away. My son agrees to the caveat. Please advise, thankyou

  2. Carol
    Carol says:

    Hi if I took money from a lender and sign an agreement and I default in my payment and my home was part of the agreement . Does the lender have the right to put a foreclosure on my property ?

  3. Kim
    Kim says:

    Can a bank foreclose on my home if there is a caveat on my home from a company helping me keep my home?
    I am not sure if the bank is aware of the caveat being on my home??

    • LazarusLegal
      LazarusLegal says:

      Hi Kim,
      Please contact us to discuss. We would be happy to explore your options.
      You can speak to our Lawyers on 02 8644 6000.


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