Co-owned land and goods
We hear applications to make an order for the sale or division of co-owned land or goods under the Property Law Act 1958.
Find out if you're in the right place
What we can help with
- one co-owner wants to sell land or goods but the other co-owner does not agree
- co-owners agree to the sale of land or goods but cannot agree on how to sell the land or goods, e.g. choosing between auction or private sale, choosing the selling agent or conveyancer.
- co-owners cannot agree on how the net proceeds of sale should be distributed between them after sale
- one co-owner wants the other co-owner to account to them for rent received or pay compensation for expenses incurred
- one co-owner wants the land or goods to be divided differently to what is shown on the certificate of title or other documentation
What we can't help with
- if you are not a co-owner in the dispute
- claims which relate solely to money, even if the money is jointly owned
- some cases where one party lives in another state or is a Commonwealth government organisation.
If you are not a co-owner, we cannot make any orders under the Property Law Act 1958. For example, if your dispute only concerns how much money the other co-owners received after the co-owned land was sold, then it may be too late to make an application. This is because once ownership in the land or goods has been transferred to the buyer, you no longer have an interest in the land or goods. This means that you are no longer defined as a co-owner in the Property Law Act 1958.
Before you apply
Dispute with a company
If your claim is against a company, you must include a company extract from ASIC showing the company’s name and registered address.
Buy the company extract, called Current Company Information, by searching ASIC’s register for companies.
Do not provide the free summary information on the ASIC website because it does not have the address details we need to provide a copy of your application to the company.
If you need assistance, call ASIC on 1300 300 630.
Make an application
We can explain the application process and what the form is asking you for. Contact us to get support.
We cannot give you legal advice. This means we cannot tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.
Seek legal help if you are unsure about your options or need advice about your claim.
Estimated time to VCAT
COVID-19 has impacted normal timeframes for co-owned land and goods hearings. The current timeframes to get to a hearing after we receive your application are:
- Mediation – 9 weeks
- Compulsory conference – 31 weeks
- Directions hearing – 9 weeks
- Small claim dispute – 37 weeks
- Complex multi-day hearing – 53 weeks
We understand the impact of these delays to you and are working hard to reduce the backlog. As soon as a case opens, we make directions to get it moving. This means you won’t have to wait for a directions hearing, but you can still apply for one if you think it’s necessary.
We assess your application and contact you as soon as we can take the next steps in your case to:
- give you a date to come to VCAT
- ask for more information if we need it
- let you know if we can't deal with your dispute.
We also send a copy of your application to the other party.
Settling your dispute before your hearing
When we open a case, you can still try to resolve the dispute yourself with the other party, right up until the hearing.
If you do settle, you must contact us to tell us you've come to an agreement and don't need a hearing.
A directions hearing is a hearing where a VCAT member decides how a case should be managed and how much time it will take.
At the directions hearing, the VCAT member may:
- clarify and explore ways to resolve any issues that are raised
- decide whether the case should go to mediation, compulsory conference or hearing
- set dates for parties to send documents to VCAT and to each other
- order physical evidence to be inspected by an expert witness – for example, requiring a car to be inspected by a mechanic
- make a final order to confirm an agreement between the parties or decide any legal issues raised.
Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?
You do not need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you wish to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission.
In many cases all parties are represented by agreement. If you are represented by a legal or other professional representative, we will only communicate with them.
Find legal services that may be able to assist you.
Access and privacy
VCAT hearings and files are usually public.
VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality.
Legislation that applies to this type of case
Other organisations that can help
We can help you understand how to apply. We cannot give you legal advice or tell you what to write in your application. These organisations may be able to help you.