27 October 2001
The New Zealand Law Society today launched a public information campaign directed at buyers and sellers of property. Law
Society President Christine Grice said the campaign was intended to raise awareness of the need for these people to see
a lawyer at the outset – particularly before they sign any documentation.
“We want people to understand that there are pitfalls in any property transaction. They need to take advice from a
lawyer who is qualified to recognise these and able to protect the client’s interests throughout the transaction. We
also want people to get the message that there are many other legal issues that may need to be addressed as part of the
overall transaction, in addition to the conveyancing matters.
“This may involve advice on the terms of the agreement, the best method of ownership, such as joint tenancy or tenancy
in common, or relationship issues. It might also include advice on making a will, preparation of enduring powers of
attorney, setting up a family trust or taxation implications, such as GST - especially important in the case of
investment properties. During the campaign we will be talking about the impact of the new property relationships
legislation, which will now need to be considered by any couple, whether married or not, including same sex, if they are
Christine Grice said people risk their life savings if they fail to take independent advice from a lawyer before they
commit to anything.
“The campaign includes a lot of information about what is involved in a property transaction. The Law Society has
produced a comprehensive brochure detailing those processes from both a buyer’s and a seller’s perspective. It explains
what the lawyer does and the kinds of checks that should be done before a person commits to a property deal. It also
touches on some of the risks, such as where family members give guarantees or lend money to help fund the purchase.”
A new website, www.propertylawyers.org.nz, launched along with the campaign, includes a comprehensive ‘Property and You’
section, which includes frequently asked questions, defines commonly used terms and carries articles and statements on
property law issues. Members of the public can also use the site’s search facility to locate and contact a property
lawyer in their area.
Miss Grice said the campaign was very much community focused, with lawyer volunteers in each region working to get the
messages out to people in their local communities.
“This campaign is probably long over due. Property lawyers all too often see people who have not taken the right advice
at the start and don’t get clear title to their properties, who
commit to paying for their new home before they have sold their existing property, or find that they have bought a
property with major structural defects. During the campaign we’ll be highlighting the sorts of things that can go wrong
– things that could be prevented if people do the right thing – see their lawyer first.”
For further information contact:
Rae Mazengarb 04 4727 837 or 021 334 095