Foreign Persons and the law requiring acquiring property in Australia
Recently we have had clients who are married and live in China – one is an Australian citizen while the other isn’t- enquire about a property they owned in Australia especially following on from the latest news and headlines in the papers.
They owned a residential property in Australia while they were married and have since split up. They have decided, however, to attempt to retain the property in joint names, but have come across a couple of road-blocks.
The laws in Australia firmly state that foreign persons who are not residents cannot buy established (second-hand) dwellings as either investment properties or homes and need to apply to buy either vacant land for residential developments or new dwellings in Australia.
Australian law also states that established dwellings bought by temporary residents cannot be rented. Only new dwellings and dwellings built on vacant land can be rented.
As a foreign resident you cannot legally buy an interest in an established dwelling, irrespective of whether you purchase it solely or as a joint venture with eligible persons (Australian citizens, permanent or temporary residents), unless the eligible person is your spouse and you are buying it jointly. This means that, after he and his spouse split up, our foreign client who is not a resident cannot legally hold the property in his name.
The laws regarding foreign persons acquiring land and property in Australia can be very complex, so if you have an issue in regards to this feel free to contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 HATZIS (1300 428 947) to answer any questions you may have.