Misplaced Fences & Illegal Builds:
Why Title Insurance could be the best insurance you've never heard of.
They say good fences make good neighbours. But what happens if it turns out that fence was built in the wrong place? Anyone who's had to navigate boundary issues like misplaced fences or encroaching structures will know that these disputes can be fraught with emotion, stress and surprise costs.
If there's another common property issue that can test a homeowner's faith in humanity, it's illegal builds. There are plenty of people who believe all is as it should be with their property, only to find out that one or several of the structures on their property were built by a previous owner without council approval. If you find yourself dealing with a dodgy build, you could be required to pay to get the structure up to scratch - or to demolish them entirely. Even with full due diligence, these property issues can pop up at any time after you've purchased a property.
It's because of these risks, and several others, that title insurance exists.
A title insurance policy can protect against a number of property ownership risks, including illegal building works, incorrect boundary issues, planning and zoning issues, incorrectly calculated taxes or land charges, and fraud or forgery relating to the property.
With a small one-off payment, you can activate a title insurance policy with First Title that will apply for the entire time you own your property. You can request cover at any time before or after your property settlement. Not only could First Title provide financial cover for a successful claim, but we can also help you to navigate the issue at hand.
"More than 5 years after purchasing our first home we were informed by our local council of 4 illegal builds/structures on our property. If it wasn't for our Title Insurance Policy we would have never been able to afford the repairs to our home and most likely would have to demolish a large portion of it. First Title supported and guided us through every step of our claim, making a quite overwhelming situation a lot easier."
Ashleigh and Dean, Victoria.
And the results can more than pay off, should you ever need to make a claim.
For example: In 2019 one of our Victorian clients found out soon after settlement that several structures on their new property, including their garage, had been built without a permit by a previous owner. After a successful claim, we paid to engage a building surveyor, who determined that the garage required a full rebuild to obtain a permit and the other structures could remain and be certified. We provided the client with a settlement payment so they could complete the required works on the own timeframe, with a total payment of $118,000.
Although each claim is unique, this goes to show just how beneficial it can be to have an existing title insurance policy in place should you ever need it. Our clients say it best...
"My First Title coverage paid for itself, and then some, within the first several weeks of settlement. Some bills associated with the property were not paid by the previous owner, which slipped through the cracks when solicitors did their due diligence. It would have cost me over $2,000 but everything was covered by First Title in a timely manner. I highly recommend them."
Helen, Narooma, NSW.
So how do you know when title insurance might be a good idea for your property? Put simply, if you own a property, then property ownership risks could affect you.
These factors can also play a role in property ownership risks:
Is your neighbourhood newly built, or have different aspects been added over time?
Has your property, or have any neighbouring properties, ever been subdivided?
Are there boundary fences on your property, or on neighbouring properties?
Are there any structures such as sheds or garages close to the property boundary?
If you're buying in a strata property, has your lot had previous owners?
We have policies to suit residential homes, strata titled property, vacant land, commercial property and rural residential property, and each one-off premium is surprisingly affordable. You can get a quick quote now to explore the cover details, and request title insurance cover if you're ready to get protection for a range of the most common property ownership risks.