News

Published in Conveyancing on 18th Aug 2017

Generally, VOI will be conducted via a face-to-face meeting where the solicitor/conveyancer will inspect current, original identity documents such as a passport and drivers licence or birth/citizenship certificate and Medicare card or healthcare card. Copies of these documents will then be retained and stored securely by the solicitor/conveyancer for a period of seven years. Once completed, VOI is valid for two years and can be used in any number of conveyancing transactions during that time. If you are unrepresented, and are dealing in property or land, you must still meet the Victorian Government’s VOI requirements and have your identity verified by an Approved Identity Verifier. RKL...

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Published in Corporate & Commercial on 20th Apr 2016

Accessing Preferential Tariffs Only those goods which “originate” in either China or Australia will be able to qualify for preferential tariff treatment under the ChAFTA. Goods will be considered “originating” if: they are wholly obtained or produced from wholly obtained goods in China or Australia; or they are produced entirely in China or Australia from materials classified as ‘originating’; or they are produced in China or Australia using inputs from other countries which meet the Product Specific Rules. Wholly obtained goods typically include goods that are sourced directly from natural resources including live plant and animal products, minerals and naturally o...

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Published in Corporate & Commercial on 13th Apr 2016

Is the Foreign Company ‘Carrying on Business’? Foreign companies that do not meet the ‘carrying on business’ threshold in section 21(2) of the Act may not need to register. It is therefore necessary to consider the specific nature of your intended Australian business activities. At common law, courts have interpreted the threshold as a ‘systematic and regular carrying on of business with a view to profit.’ Foreign companies that merely seek to invest funds, collect debts or hold property will generally not be required to register.     Registration If a foreign company is deemed to be ‘carrying on business,’ it is required to register with ASIC in the prosc...

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Published in Property Law & Conveyancing on 11th Apr 2016

A landlord attempted to evict a couple who had put their St Kilda rental property on Airbnb without her permission. The landlord argued that by letting the property on Airbnb, the couple had effectively created a sublease. As with most residential leases, the lease in question provided that the couple could not sublease without her permission.  As permission had not been granted, she argued they were in breach of the lease.  The tribunal dismissed the landlord’s claim finding that an Airbnb listing did not amount to a sub-lease.  The member made such a finding on the basis that Airbnb guests do not have exclusive possession of a premises and based also on the wording of Ai...

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Published in Property Law & Conveyancing on 4th Apr 2016

It is easy to understand the lure of Airbnb for property owners and tenants alike. Home owners can potentially earn two to three times the revenue that a standard annual tenancy could generate whereas tenants, subletting, can earn as much as $200 a night whilst on holiday or shacking up with a friend.  These opportunities for earning windfall revenue have seen the growth in professional hosts – those who have listed multiple dwellings on Airbnb. The increase in 'professional hosts’ has in turn spawned the rise of the Airbnb start up.  Amongst many, these include Tel Aviv start up, Guesty, a by-product of the industry. Guesty provides services such as housekeeping, keydrop&n...

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Published in Employment and Workplace Law on 26th Nov 2015

The lead up to the festive season can be a particularly busy time for many businesses.  As a result of increased trading, employers may be required to make additional payments to employees over and above their usual wage.  For example, employers may need staff to work overtime, pay increased sales commissions or pay end of year bonuses and gifts.  It is therefore timely to remind employers which of these additional payments will attract superannuation contributions.  The basic requirement is for employers to contribute 9.5% of an employee's "ordinary time earnings" into their chosen superannuation fund.  The test of whether any additional payments attract the obl...

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Published in Corporate & Commercial on 24th Nov 2015

The Commonwealth Government recently approved legislation that protects small businesses from unfair contract terms in standard form contracts. Previously, such protections were only available to consumers.  The new legislation will commence November 2016 and will apply to contracts entered into after October 2016 and existing contracts that are renewed or varied after October 2016. The protections will apply where: at least one party to the contract is a ‘small business’; the upfront price of the contract does not exceed $300,000 (if the contract has a duration of 12 months or less); or the upfront price of the contract does not exceed $1,000,000 (if the contract ha...

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Published in Property Law & Conveyancing on 22nd Oct 2015

There is long standing discussion surrounding which outgoings are permissible for landlords to pass onto tenants. Generally, whether outgoings can be passed onto the tenant will depend on what has been agreed between the parties in their retail lease agreement.  Where it has been agreed that certain outgoings must be paid or reimbursed by the tenant, the landlord must be careful to comply with the obligations imposed by the Retail Leases Act (and associated regulations) in relation to recovering such costs.  For example, the landlord cannot pass on outgoings unless it has specified as to the type of outgoings and given an estimate annually to the tenant (section 39 of the Retai...

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Published in Wills & Estates on 7th Oct 2015

Powers of Attorney - are yours in place? With recent changes to the laws surrounding Powers of Attorney (“PoA”), it is timely to provide a recap on the different types of PoA available and the importance of proper succession planning. What are PoA? PoA are legal documents that let you appoint someone to make legal decisions on your behalf.  Alternatively, you can appoint someone to ‘support’ you to make decisions for yourself. A supportive PoA is primarily for people with disabilities and is not discussed here. PoA can either be enduring or general (non-enduring). Enduring PoA start from a date or time specified by you (or if not specified, immediately) and continue even y...

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Published in Wills & Estates on 16th Sep 2015

What happens to your social media when you die? What about Gmail? who gets funds in a Paypal, Skype or gaming account? Do you have a blog? Ebay or Amazon Account? Precious photos kept on Dropbox? What will your online afterlife be like?    There are many things to consider when making a will. There are the traditional aspects of a will that most people are familiar with such as: Who the executor will be; Who will be the beneficiaries of your assets, including property, shares or bank accounts; Who will be the legal guardian of any children; and Funeral arrangements. But, have you considered what happens to your social media and Gmail accounts when you die? Would your b...

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Published in Technology and Intellectual Property on 24th Aug 2015

  Can I use that cat image? Just because an image is publically available on the internet, does not mean it is free.  In fact, unless there is a clear statement to the contrary, you should always assume that material found on the internet is copyright protected and therefore requires the owner’s permission in order to be used.  This is further complicated by the fact that the image may have been displaced several times and the site on which you have found it may not even have the rights to it. Many believe they can avoid a claim for copyright infringement by merely attributing the work to the source on which they found it with a “shoutout” or link back. Unfortunatel...

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Published in Corporate & Commercial on 10th Aug 2015

Can a binding agreement be created over email? In the recent decision of Stellard Pty Ltd v North Queensland Fuel Pty Ltd, The Supreme Court of Queensland held that a binding contract of sale existed where parties had communicated via email and intended to later enter into a written agreement.  Stellard Pty Ltd v North Queensland Fuel Pty Ltd North Queensland Fuel (NQF) and Stellard negotiated via email for the purchase of a petrol station. Stellard sent an email to NQF containing the terms of their purchase offer. Notably, a follow up email from Stellard stated “this offer is of course subject to contract” and “[we] need acceptance of our offer immediately so we are in a pos...

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Published in Animal Law on 15th Feb 2015

Council Prosecution Nuisance caused by a barking dog can be a public hazard, and your local Council is empowered by the Domestic Animals Act 1994 ("the DAA") and the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 ("the PHWA") to investigate complaints of barking dogs and, in cases where there is a nuisance, fine the offending neighbour or bring criminal charges that can carry heavy penalties. After conducting their investigation into a complaint, the Council will determine if there is a nuisance and decide if it is appropriate to issue an infringement notice under section 85 of the DAA. In more serious cases, the Council may bring criminal charges in the Magistrates Court against the owner of the...

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Published in Family Law on 5th Feb 2015

Under the National Energy Retail Law Act, which establishes the National Energy Customer Framework, energy companies are required to have “hardship policies” to assist customers if they fall into arrears, as they may be experiencing hardship such as loss of income, family crises, separation, and family violence. Read the Age’s recent article here.    ...

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Published in Wills & Estates on 1st Feb 2015

The amendments are designed to give people greater freedom when drafting their Wills, and limit the number of Testator’s Family Maintenance claims (“TFM claims”) that can be brought against someone’s Estate, by requiring the Courts to give greater consideration to the intentions of the Willmaker. Prior to the new Act, people could bring TFM claims in the following circumstances: If they could show that the deceased had a “responsibility to provide” them with maintenance; and If the individual was left without “adequate” or “proper” maintenance. Determining the appropriate amount of provision depended on the factual circumstances of each case. The new Act narrows...

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Published in Owners Corporation Law on 27th Aug 2014

But what if your OC or OC committee decides to paint all the window frames in your apartment complex “bright neon pink”? Does the OC have the power to do this? The short answer is “yes”, provided they overcome certain hurdles, and meet certain requirements. A recent VCAT case, namely Mowla v Owners Corporation PS5407083B [2014] VCAT 956 highlighted this issue. Facts Mr Mowla brought an application in relation to certain decisions made by the OC’s committee. One of those decisions was in relation to a border that separated his garden bed (which fell within his title) from an area of lawn (which was common property). The other properties in the development had the same configurat...

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Published in Property Law & Conveyancing on 15th Aug 2014

Rudstein Kron Lawyers successfully represented a property developer in two separate proceedings in the Victorian Supreme Court arising out of the same transaction with the same purchaser. The Court’s decision should alert purchasers to do everything reasonably required to secure finance where a Contract contains “subject to finance” provisions.  Facts The case concerned a Contract of Sale for an “off the plan” purchase of a residential home in Caulfield South. The Purchasers paid a deposit of $59,500 upon signing the Contract. The Contract was “subject to finance” and general condition 14 of the Contract provided as follows: 14. LOAN 14.1. … this contract is subje...

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Published in Family Law on 30th Jul 2014

Other than the fact that Monica and Chandler’s relationship was very brief, and less than the 2 year period prescribed by the Family Law Act 1975 (“the Act”), what is particularly interesting about this scenario is that Monica and Chandler never had sex. This set of facts was very similar to the facts of the recent case, Spencer & Speight [2014] FamCA (“Spencer & Speight”), which Rudstein Kron Lawyers was involved in. In that case, the Court held that you do not need to have engaged in sexual intercourse (or indeed any kind of sexual activity) to be considered to be in a de facto relationship. How does the Court determine if there is a de facto relationship? Sectio...

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Published in Owners Corporation Law on 5th Jun 2014

Mr Simpson came to see us after receiving a Notice from the Committee of the Owners Corporation that they had convened a meeting and resolved to strike a special levy of $1.4 million (“the Project Levy”), which was to be spread across blocks A, B and C.  His block C, which consisted of 20 lots, was to pay a Project Levy of approximately $500,000 to fund works and repairs. His contribution to the Project Levy alone was approximately $30,000. Mr Simpson was alarmed and contemplated applying for a loan in anticipation of paying the Project Levy. Instead, he came to see us to explore his legal options. We were able to advise that: the amount involved to raise the Project Levy was more...

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Published in Employment and Workplace advice on 3rd Dec 2013

Who is eligible to make an application? A new section will be inserted in to the Fair Work Act 2009 (“the Act”) to extend the definition of “worker” to include employees, contractors, subcontractors, outworkers, apprentices, trainees, volunteers and students gaining work experience. When is a worker “bullied” at work? The new laws will provide that a worker is bullied at work if another individual, or group of individuals, repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards the worker, and that behaviour creates a risk to health and safety.  The implications of this definition are: The behaviour has to be repeated and there must be a “persistent nature” to it. This means that a...

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