Contracts are legally binding agreements between two or more parties. It is important that you read and understand the terms of any contract before signing it. As contracts can be very complex, obtaining independent legal advice during your planning and investigation stage is strongly recommenced in order to make an informed decision. As there are many different types of housing related contracts, there are also many different forms of legislation which pertain to your particular housing type such as common law, tenancy law and consumer law. It is important to consider specialist legal advice from someone who specialises in the type of accommodation you are exploring and is experienced in the nuances (and potentially hidden clauses) of the industry, such as what is included in purchase or what services are included in renting the property or room in a facility, ownership, cooling off periods, what changes can be made, restrictions and fees.
Risks of not having a contract
There are many risks that you may need to consider before agreeing to something without a contract. A contract can provide some level of assurance, protection and transparency. You may be offered a cheaper deal for cash for some smaller renovation works on your property – it may seem like a good deal but what are the risks of not having a contract? What happens if the work isn’t completed or not completed to an acceptable quality? Even though, it may not seem necessary to have a contractual agreement if you are moving in with family/friends or building a granny flat on their property, you may be putting yourself at great risk. Without a contract or legal stake in the title what will happen to you if there is a divorce? Or if your friends/family can no longer live in the house and the property is sold?
Planning your finances sooner can have a huge impact on your choices later in life. What savings will you have? What will your costs be regarding accommodation, living expenses and healthcare? How will your finances impact your housing choices? Independent financial advice can help you achieve your goals and safeguard your future. However, did you know that not all financial advice is equal? You may or may not be aware that there are a few levels of financial advice: Factual Information; General Advice and Personal Advice. It is important to understand the difference between the types of advice and when to seek each one. Call the Housing Chats info line to discuss these different types of financial information in greater detail.
Choosing a financial advisor
Our Housing Chats info line can also refer you to websites which contain resources to help you choose a financial advisor as well as information regarding fees, commissions and what to expect from a meeting with a financial advisor. To obtain a copy of ASIC’s Moneysmart booklet “Financial advice and you” call the Housing Information Line on 1300 135 500. We also have other resources to assist you to look for a financial advisor in your area.
Your housing choice could potentially impact on your Pension/Part Pension as it is considered ‘gifting’. The Department of Human Services, Financial Information Service can provide you with details on how your housing choice could impact your Pension. They also hold free seminars on topics such as: Reducing your mortgage; Understanding superannuation; Investing etc. You can obtain further information about the Financial Information Service by calling the Housing Information Line on 1300 135 500 or the Department of Human Services.
For further information
More information on this and other items to consider can be found by moving through the other topic specific links. Alternatively, you can have a “Housing Chat” with the Housing Information Line on 1300 135 500. We can provide you will some current resources and information on current services in your chosen location as well as some tips or tricks to look out for.
Link to other topics