Category Archives: Practice Areas

CONVEYANCING

who can purchase a property in victoria?

Anyone can purchase a Real estate property in Victoria, however, should you be a Foreign Purchaser, and you will be subjected to a Foreign Investment Review Board (‘FIRB’) Approval. Foreign Purchasers must comply with the condition(s) (if any) set out in his/her FIRB Approval.

manner of holding

a) Sole Proprietors – The individual is the only owner or proprietors of this property. Should you as a sole proprietor wish to transfer part of your interest to another party, it may occur in one of the following:

i) Tenants in common

ii) Joint tenants

Where there are multiple purchasers of a property, the following forms of ownership are as follows:

a) Tenants in common – Upon the death of one of the proprietors, the deceased person’s proportionate interest in the property will become part of the deceased’s estate.

b) Joint tenants OR proprietors – Upon the death of one of the proprietors, the deceased person’s share of the property automatically be reverted to the remaining joint owner(s) irrespective of the terms of the deceased’s will.

who will need this firb approval

Any person(s) who is/are not an Australian Citizen, PR or an eligible New Zealand citizen.

what is contained in a standard contract of sale and vendor’s statement?

You should ensure that you are fully informed of all terms and conditions set out in the contract of sale. Effort should be placed into scrutinising each and every clause to ensure that you do not lose out.

a) Documents and information with regards to the land:

  • Statement of title – this document contains important and crucial information about the land, including volume and folio numbers, activities within the last 125 days, the current owners’ name and address, if there is a mortgage, the mortgage information will be available and other encumbrances on the land.
  • Copy of plan: The copy of plan shows you the size and location of the land. If there is an easement over the land, the plan will also show you where the easement is located.
  • Water information statement: it displays the current water rates and the estimated daily usage. Alternatively, a recent bill from the current occupant is able to be provided to upon request.
  • Land tax clearance certificate: if the property is not for residential purpose, the land is usually subject to the payment of land tax. The land tax certificate is able to provide an estimate of what is current year’s land tax payable.
  • Land information certificate – This statement issued by the relevant local city council. It provides details of council rate charges and any outstanding amounts that are payable to the council for the relevant year. Alternatively, a recent bill from the current occupant is able to be provided to upon request.
  • Owners Corporation Certificate – if applicable.

Apartments and townhouses usually have Owners Corporation. The details can be provided via the most recent bill of Owners Corporation or an Owners corporation certificate, which contains the rules of the O.C. and cost.

b) Planning information from the government

It states whether you can re-develop this land into either a residential property or a commercial property. c) Building permit

If the house was built within the last 7 years, the vendor must provide a copy of the building permit, together with the building warranty and insurance must also be provided.

d) Other side agreements

what are the asociated fees and expenses for real estate?

The associated fees for a real estate/land includes council rate, water rate, land tax and Owners Corporation fees (if applicable).

Owners Corporation fee depends on the number of levels, facilities and services provided by the Owners Corporation management company in the building. Council rates normally range from $1500 to $3000, water rates will be pro-rated in accordance with the date of settlement and the billing date, usage of the relevant utilities will be paid for by the current tenant on the property. Other amount will be subjected to the agreement.

types of properties

i) Off-the-plan refers to a sale based on the floor plan of the property. Construction of the property may or may not have commenced, however the property is yet to be completed.

ii) New Dwelling is where the construction of the property that is completed, however the property has never been sold or occupied before.

iii) Second-hand dwelling/Established homes

What is fee simple

Fee simple is a form of interest in land. Land owned in fee simple means the owner has an absolute right to the land, without any limitations or conditions. This interest in land can be passed on and there is no limitation of time.

what is the foreign investment review board aproval firb approval?

Anyone who is not an Australian citizen, PR or an eligible New Zealand Citizen, will be considered a foreigner. All foreigners must apply for an FIRB approval before they are able to purchase any property in Victoria. Ineligible foreigners who have purchased a property without an FIRB approval will at the risk of receiving a high penalty.

According to the policy of Australian government, all foreign investment on residential real estate in Australia should increase the housing supply in Australia. All applications should be considered in accordance with this principle. The following types of properties have the following requirements should a foreigner purchase it:

a) Established homes/Second-hand dwelling Foreigner cannot purchase an established home. Unless, for the

following situations:

i) The established home has been purchased for re-development purposes. In between the start date of the construction process and the settlement date, no part of this property is allowed to be rented out; or

ii) The foreign purchaser is holding a temporary resident visa for more than 1 year (such as a student visa, working visa etc. Please note, a tourist visa is not a temporary resident visa). However, the purchaser must use this property as their primary place of residence.

b) New dwelling and off-the-plan Upon obtaining the FIRB Approval, all foreigners are eligible to purchase these type of properties. Normally, the approval is un-conditional.

c) Vacant land Upon obtaining the FIRB Approval, all foreigners can purchase this type of property. This approval will be subject to a condition where the construction process must commence within 24 months.

what do you need to do before signing the contract?

VSTAR strongly recommends that you consult either a solicitor or licenced conveyancer to review your contract before signing. This will ensure that all important clauses are brought to your attention and explained to you, including all the potential risks in which you may be undertaking, therefore allowing you to make an informed decision.

what do you need to do after signing the contract?

After the contract of sale has been signed, you will need to pay the outstanding balance of the 10% deposit into the trust account of vendor solicitor/real estate agent. The deposit money must be paid into a trust account, in accordance with the laws of Victoria. You should be aware if the vendor’s solicitor or real estate agent requests that you make the cheque payable to the vendor, instead of their trust account. A copy of the fully executed contract of sale will then be provided to you for the sale process to continue.

what is settlement date?

Settlement date is the date of settlement of this property. If the purchaser needs to involve an incoming mortgagee, please select a settlement date that will allow you to have sufficient time to arrange your mortgage.

Settlement date can be 30 days, 60 days or 90 days from the date of sale. The application for a mortgage may between 3 to 4 weeks. It is therefore advisable for a purchaser to elect at least 60 days to allow sufficient time to arrange for their mortgage and finances.

what is the stamp duty

When you buy Victorian land, which may include buildings, you are liable to pay land transfer duty (otherwise known as stamp duty). The duty payable is based on the market value of the property or the purchase price, whichever is greater.

what is the difference between total amount and the funds available and why there is a difference?

Total loan amount an individual can have depends on the value of the property, their credit rating and income. After an overall valuation, the bank will then provide the loan amount in which they are willing to loan to you.

Commercial law

who can purchase a property in victoria?

Commercial agreements and contracts can often be quite complex and confusing and various terms and conditions are commonly misinterpreted giving rise to disputes, losses and/or other consequences. The team at VSTAR lawyers and Consultants have extensive experience in preparing, negotiating, reviewing and executing various commercial agreements and contracts, including but not limited to partnership agreements, joint venture agreements, shareholder agreements, trust deeds, franchise agreements, loan and security agreements and more.

We offer comprehensive legal advice that is tailored to our client’s individual needs. VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants will always act in the best interests of our clients so as to ensure that they get the maximum possible benefit.

commercial disputes

Disputes in commercial transactions occur quite frequently and more often than not these disputes originate form contractual agreements. The team at VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants are well versed and experienced in not only preparing and drafting contractual agreements but also ensuring enforcement of the terms and conditions associated therein. We frequently assist our clients in mediations, negotiations and litigation, however VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants have a well-regarded reputation of settling the majority of matters before they get to court, this often saves our clients thousands of dollars in court fees and gives them peace of mind.

You can be confident that you interests are in the safest of hands and that the team here at VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants will go to extraordinary lengths to ensure you achieve the best possible outcome.

commercial law

VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants can provide you with professional, in-depth and timely advice on a range of commercial matters. We are a results driven practice and thrive on achieving only the best for all our clients whether they be individuals, small businesses or multinational corporations.
Our team has the ability and experience to provide cost effective and accurate professional advice for all commercial matters, including but not limited to:

  • Business sales, purchases and leases;
  • Business Structures, including risk and compliance issues;
  • Intellectual property;
  • Franchising;
  • Commercial contracts and agreements;
  • Asset protection; and
  • Disputes including mediation and litigation.

VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants remain actively involved with all clients, so that not only can we better appreciate and understand your business, but also to give you the added benefit and satisfaction of knowing that we will deliver specific and tailored commercial advice based on the needs and interests of your specific business.

franchising

Franchising is increasingly gaining popularity in Australia and most of us have some sort of interaction with a franchise each day. VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants have a wealth of experience in providing accurate, timely and processional legal advice to both franchisors and franchisees. We frequently prepare, review and advise our clients on franchise agreements, disclosure statements and various franchise models as well assisting our clients with purchase and selling of franchise businesses.
In addition to providing legal advice on the protection of intellectual trademarks and properties relating to their businesses as well as enforcement of those rights, VSTAR Lawyers and Consultant also provide valuable legal advice in relation to defending any claims arising out of potential breaches of intellectual property.

structuring and set up of businesses

It is essential to understand the advantages and disadvantages of various business structures when considering starting your business. It is a common misconception that a specific structure may be suited to you simply because it works for someone else. VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants can provide comprehensive and tailored advice regarding suitable structures based on your individual needs and objectives. We provide professional legal advice on issues such as registration, compliance, tax and asset protection for all structures, including:

  • Sole traders;
  • Partnerships;
  • Companies; and
  • Trusts, including fixed trusts, unit trusts, discretionary (family) trusts, bare trusts, hybrid trusts, testamentary trusts, charitable trusts and superannuation trusts).

VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants not only identify potential risks but also guide our clients in managing those risks so as to protect the interests of their business.

PROPERTY LAW

commercial and retail leasing

We act for both landlords and tenants in commercial leases. Our solicitors are experienced in dealing with retail leases and other commercial leases for both individuals and commercial clients.

owners corporation

We represent both the Owner’s Corporations and the individual lot owner in strata dispute.

subdivision and planning and development

If you are interested in re-developing your land, we can provide legal support for your development team, assistance in the subdivision law, registration of strata plans and general planning & environmental law areas.

FAMILY LAW

children

When it comes to family law, the Family Law Act 1975 regards the best interests of the child as the most important consideration.
It is the presumption of the Courts that when parties are making parenting orders they are made in the best interests of the child with both parents having an equal responsibility for the child. Quite often this equal responsibility is misconstrued with equal time, these are not the same things. When looking at equal shared responsibility, regard must be given to the long term decisions of the child, for example schooling/education and medical issues, it does not include smaller decisions regarding things such as what they will have for dinner or which clothes they will wear to the park. These decisions are categorised as day-to-day decisions and not major long term decisions.
Often there is disagreement regarding arrangements of the child, including how many days will be spent with each parent and who bears the costs of the child, this frequently occurs where parents live away from each other and/or have their own commitments such as work or other relationships. Whilst we here at VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants endeavour to settle these differences through negotiation and/or mediation, there is quite often a chance that parties may not be able to come to an agreement. VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants have the knowledge and experience in determining when Court proceedings need to be initiated. We regularly represent our clients in the Courts and have a reputation of achieving the best outcomes for our clients and their families.

  • Parenting Orders
  • When making parenting orders, in addition to looking at the history of the relationship, the care of the children and the events/circumstances that have happened/existed since separation, there are numerous other factors that the court takes into consideration, these can include:

  • The views of the children, including their level of understanding, maturity (the court does not usually hear directly from the child);
  • The amount each parent can provide for the child emotional, physical and intellectual needs;
  • The level of maturity and the background of each parent;
  • Expenses and practical difficulties of children seeing each respective parent;
  • The attitude of each parent regarding the responsibilities of being a parent towards the child;
  • Any family violence or abuse towards members of the family or children;
  • The relationship that the child has with each parent;
  • The level of involvement each parent has had in regards to major long-term decisions of the child and whether each parent has financially supported the child or alternatively failed to do so;
  • The effect on the child in relation to any change to where the child will live or stay or have been living or staying; and
  • Any other circumstances that the courts deems important in the assessment of a parenting order.
    If it is possible for you and your partner to reach an agreement regarding the child, VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants can formalise these arrangements by obtaining Family Court Orders without the need of the parties going to court.
  • Child Support

Child support can be a daunting issue for some parents, the Australian Child Support Scheme which is governed by the Australian Government is intended to ensure that both parents contribute towards the costs of children. Parents have a legal obligation to financially provide for children.
When considering Child support a specific formula is used with factors such as the income of the parents, whether other children are being supported, the costs of raising the children, ages of children and the level of time spent with each parent are all considered. However, it is quite common for parents to enter into their own agreement with each other in relation to the amount of child support to be paid. VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants can provide you with an estimate of the amount of Child Support that would be payable by each parent in your specific circumstance and further formalise those arrangements through a Binding Child Support Agreement.

divorce

Under Australian Law parties may only apply for divorce after they have been separated for at least 12 months. It does not matter who caused the marriage to breakdown or the reasons behind it, through Australia’s “no-fault divorce” system the only criteria to meet is to demonstrate that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
Should there be children involved in the relationship, the court will grant the divorce provided it is satisfied that there are proper arrangements in place that are in the best interests of the child (see more below).
In an ideal situation where both parties agree to the divorce, a joint application for divorce can be made. Where there one of the party’s objects to the divorce, the other party can still apply for the divorce however will need to follow specific service rules prior to the divorce hearing. Irrespective of the other party’s objection the Court will still grant the divorce provided that the party applying for divorce can demonstrate that there has been separation of at least 12 months.
Complications can arise when attempting to demonstrate separation particularly in situations where the parties are still living under the same roof. VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants can assist in providing the Court additional documents to demonstrate separation where parties are still living together.
Any property, financial or children issues can be settled in the separation stage prior to making an application for divorce, it is not necessary to apply for divorce first. It is important to note that a divorce order is not granted on the same day of the hearing, in most circumstances the order is made final one month and one day after the hearing.

family law

“We take the stress off your shoulders by making your issues…our issues”
The breakdown of a relationship is a sensitive and emotional time, and unfortunately more often than not parties must pursue legal avenues to sort out their affairs. We here at VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants understand and appreciate the delicacy and sensitivity of all family law related matters.
Our approach involves ensuring that your matter is dealt with in an efficient and amicable fashion whilst taking into account your end goals. However, we also understand that a much harder approach must be taken in certain situations and our team here at VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants have the tactical experience and skills to be able to achieve your end goal. Whatever the case, our paramount concern is that your interests are well protected and we achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.
Due to our extensive experience and success in family law related matters, we have the capability to settle most family law matters through agreement before a case goes to court, however should there be a need to litigate our team have a reputation of fiercely representing our clients in all proceedings and jurisdictions so as to attain the best for our clients.
Whether it be a property dispute or settlement, mediation or a custody issue, the team here at VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants will always act in your best interests and attain the best possible outcome for you.

property disputes

At the end of a relationship there is quite often a pool of family assets which parties make claim to, such as property, vehicles and common goods. It is necessary to determine how assets and financial resources are divided between spouses. A common misconception is that property is automatically divided in a 50/50 ratio, this is incorrect. The court considers a wide range of factors when determining division of the asset pool and there is no particular formula that is used, factors include:

  • The value of the property and any liabilities;
  • Direct and indirect financial contributions by each party;
  • Non-financial contributions such as improving property or looking after children;
  • Future needs of each party;
  • Assessing whether the proposed settlement is both equitable and fair in the circumstances.

VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants have extensive experience in property settlements and can assist you with achieving the best possible outcome.

spousal mentenance

At the end of a relationship there is quite often a pool of family assets which parties make claim to, such as property, vehicles and common goods. It is necessary to determine how assets and financial resources are divided between spouses. A common misconception is that property is automatically divided in a 50/50 ratio, this is incorrect. The court considers a wide range of factors when determining division of the asset pool and there is no particular formula that is used, factors include:

  • The value of the property and any liabilities;
  • Direct and indirect financial contributions by each party;
  • Non-financial contributions such as improving property or looking after children;
  • Future needs of each party;
  • Assessing whether the proposed settlement is both equitable and fair in the circumstances.

VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants have extensive experience in property settlements and can assist you with achieving the best possible outcome.

IMMIGRATION LAW

overview of migration law

We have three registered experienced Migration agent and two senior immigration consultants here at VSTAR to help you with your visa, AAT Review, and Court Appeal cases.
VSTAR understands the importance of obtaining your visa approval at the earliest time possible, through the most cost effective and efficient manner. As our principal lawyer, Jason Lu always says, “If you want to migrate to Australia, do it as soon as possible. Due to the ever-changing nature of the legislation regarding Migration, we can only advise you in regards to the current law and policy.”

VSTAR believes that any advice based only on speculation will result in us, as practitioners being irresponsible and negligent towards our clients. Our aim is to assist our clients to achieve their desired outcome for their visa application through the most cost effective and time efficient means.
VSTAR had helped many of our clients fulfil their dreams of migrating to Australia. We have the experiences and knowledge to assist you in the best way possible. We are experienced with AAT reviews and have a high success rate. We have received many positive reviews from our client regarding the services we provided. We can ensure you that by choosing us, you will be able to be at ease knowing that your matter is being well taken care of, given our level of expertise.

OTHER SERVICES
(NON-LEGAL)

NAATI translation

VSTAR also provides professional, NAATI accredited translations from English to Chinese and Chinese to English for individuals and organizations. We have experienced and accredited translators in our office to provide you with the best and quickest translation service possible. You can trust our team to deliver fast and high quality translation. We also offer free postage (standard post) of the original translation document to any address within Australia upon full payment of our service fee.
For our compliance rules please refer to NAATI Website. Our prices are reasonable and we guarantee that the quality of our work will speak for itself. Should you wish to obtain a free quote, kindly send us the respective documents to translation@vstarimmi.com.

school counseling and student placement

VSTAR immigration and Education services is a division of VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants Pty Ltd. VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants is an incorporated legal practice providing legal and non-legal services. School counselling and student placement(s) are not a legal services.

We are an Australian based company offering education, immigration services both locally and internationally. We provide a full range of Australian immigration services including visa applications, documents certification and national accredited translation. Through our consistent input of time and efforts, we are developing rapidly and have been obtaining beyond satisfactory results.

With a team filled with various talented individuals, we aim to bridge the gap between Australia and Asia. We are a team with rich experience and great vitality. All our employees, are fluent in English, have higher education qualifications and accreditations required for specialized sectors such as law, education and translation.

Given that our firm is multicultural, we are able to better understand the challenges faced by international students. We believe that the best to way to provide services to our clients is to better understand the needs of each individual, making each matter unique in itself. Your experience with us is therefore distinct from any other matter and tailored to your needs. Please kindly refer to www.vstarimmi.com.au for more information regarding this non-legal service.

visa applications

VSTAR immigration and Education services is a division of VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants Pty Ltd. VSTAR Lawyers and Consultants is an incorporated legal practice providing legal and non-legal services. Visa applications are not considered a legal service.

We are an Australian based company offering education, immigration services both locally and internationally. We provide a full range of Australian immigration services including visa applications, documents certification and national accredited translation. Through our consistent input of time and effort, we are developing rapidly and have been obtaining beyond satisfactory results.

You can trust VSTAR with your visa applications, including the preparation of all necessary documents and providing you advice of the various steps along the way. Should you require any assistance, do not hesitate to call us at 03-8080 0510 for a free quotation today.