Adding a Name to a Property Title

adding a name to a property title

Navigating the intricacies of property title and ownership, especially when it involves adding a name to a property, is a significant decision often involving family members or partners. This process not only signifies joint tenants or tenants in common in your family home but also impacts property ownership in legal terms.

The Complete Process and Key Steps to Transferring Property & How do you add a name to a title?

Contract of Sale or Deed of Gift?

In Melbourne, Victoria, when you're considering adding a name to a property title, you embark on a process that encompasses various legal and financial aspects. This process, which involves a series of steps which is governed by the Transfer of Land Act (1958) and includes several key steps:

  1. Deciding the Transfer Method: There are different ways to transfer property. Gifting the property to a family member such as a spouse or child typically doesn't involve a monetary exchange. Alternatively, selling the property requires a formal Contract of Sale. Lastly, you might consider changing the ownership shares, which can affect joint tenancy arrangements, where ownership automatically passes to the co-owner upon death, or create a tenants in common scenario, where each person holds a share of the property.

  2. Identity Verification: A Crucial Step for All Parties

    To safeguard against fraud, both the current owner and the new owner must undergo thorough identity verification. This standard procedure in property matters ensures the security of all parties involved.

  3. Preparation and Lodgement of the Transfer Form at the Land Titles Office

    The journey begins with preparing a legal document known as the Transfer of Land or transfer form. This crucial legal document for property transfers records the change in ownership and must be lodged with the Land Titles Office, who will issue the new property title.

  4. Stamp Duty Payments

    When transferring property title, it's necessary to pay stamp duty, calculated on the property's market value. However, there are exemptions, notably when transferring a principal place of residence between spouses or domestic partners without consideration. In such cases, the property must be a residential one, with at least one person in the relationship living there as their main residence for a continuous period of at least 12 months, starting within 12 months of the transfer. When adding a name to a property title, assessing stamp duty is a vital part of the process. You may need to seek legal advice to understand if stamp duty is applicable and how much you need to pay. This often involves getting a valuation of the property to determine the tax payable.

  5. Capital Gains Tax Considerations: If the property being transferred has been more than just the owner's main residence and was acquired after September 20, 1985, capital gains tax may be applicable. This tax is based on the property's market value at the time of the transfer.

  6. Transfer Process and Associated Costs: The process to add a name to a property title involves preparing and lodging a Transfer document and paying transfer fee. This includes verifying the identities of both parties involved, assessing stamp duty, and obtaining mortgagee consent if there's an existing mortgage on the property. Additionally, you'll need to inform relevant authorities, such as the Council, Water Authority, and Owners Corporation, about the change in ownership. The costs for these transactions, including land registration fees and transfer fees, depend on the transaction's nature and the property's value.

  7. Consultation and Legal Advice: Given the complexities involved in such transactions, it's advisable to consult with a solicitor or conveyancing professional, as well as a mortgage broker if there's an existing mortgage. These experts can provide advice on the ownership agreement, the nature of the transfer, and ensure all necessary forms are filled out and lodged correctly. They can also guide you on any legal implications, help you understand your interest in the property, and advise on the appropriate ownership structure, be it sole proprietorship, joint tenancy, or tenants in common.

  8. Ownership Structures and Certificates: When changing the title of a property, it's crucial to decide the nature of the ownership structure. This could mean establishing a sole proprietorship, a joint tenancy where ownership automatically passes to the remaining owner, or a tenants in common arrangement where each person has a distinct share. Depending on the structure, you may need to update or obtain new certificates to reflect the change in ownership.

  9. Additional Considerations for Family Members and Partners: When a family member or partner is involved in the transfer, it's important to consider their interest and how the transfer will affect them, especially in terms of any existing mortgage or the need to complete specific forms related to the transfer.