What Do Real Estate Lawyers Do?


Real estate law is a wide-ranging field concerning the buying, selling and leasing of property (houses, flats, units, apartments, commercial buildings etc) and land, as well as in regards to mortgages, rates and taxes. There are many laws which help to protect buyers, sellers and renters from dishonest practices and ensure that each party is catered to fairly. This blog will explore the area of real estate law in more detail.


In Australia, most real estate laws are enacted and enforced on a state level, although some important laws, such as Mabo and Others v Queensland (No. 2), in regards to native title, and P J Magennis Pty Ltd v Commonwealth, in regards to the Commonwealth’s right to acquire property, were established at a federal level.


In Australia, real estate is usually either owned outright or leased from another private entity. It is also possible to lease property which is classified as “crown land”, that is, land which is owned and managed by state or federal governments, such as national parks. A lease may be sought on crown land for a range of reasons, such as mining, industry, residential and tourist purposes.


According to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, it is unlawful for real estate agents to: intentionally mislead you; lead you to a wrong conclusion or impression; give you a false impression; leave out or hide important information (e.g. in fine-print disclaimers); or make false or inaccurate claims.↿


Real estate lawyers will often be called upon in instances such as disputes between two neighbours regarding property boundaries, to deal with local councils or housing authorities regarding development of a site, or in regards to issues of native title, referring to the rights and interests of indigenous Australians to lands and waters according to their traditional laws and customs.


Each state has specific laws laying out the rules and regulations for residential tenancies, that is, leasing a property in which someone will live. The laws refer to such things as: a tenant’s right to have repairs and maintenance carried out; the right to enjoy reasonable peace, comfort and privacy; the amount of notice required for a landlord to evict you; and to not be unlawfully evicted.


Real estate lawyers may be utilised for overseeing the transfer of properties or titles, to ensure that all applicable laws are followed. They may also be required for settling disputes, such as between tenants and landlords or between two parties engaged in a property deal. 


Real estate lawyers need to have an excellent grasp of all laws concerning real estate and property in Australia, as well as laws regarding trusts and equity, contracts, planning, environment, and construction, as well as in dispute resolution. Many real estate lawyers are employed in-house by larger firms or work on a consultation basis, and it remains a law field with excellent job prospects.


1. https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/health-home-travel/real-estate