If an assisted person signs the equitable charge, then, usually, Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) will lodge a caveat on the title documents for the property. These documents are held at Land Victoria.

The caveat acts as a warning. It alerts any people who may have legal dealings in relation to the charged property that VLA has an interest in the property.

The assisted person is restricted in what they can do with the property as long as the caveat remains on it.

If the assisted person sells the property or refinances it, then Land Victoria will tell VLA. VLA may then require the assisted person to use the proceeds of the sale or refinancing to pay VLA the amount of legal costs or financial contribution secured by the charge.

However, VLA does not normally require the assisted person to pay this amount until the property is actually sold or refinanced.

When will VLA not lodge a caveat?

VLA may agree not to lodge a caveat on the title of the property where the cost of legal assistance will not, or is not likely to exceed, $1700:

  • on one grant of legal assistance
  • on several grants of assistance for the same person current at the same time
  • in total on all grants of assistance (including costs or likely costs of the current grant).

Caveat costs

VLA will add to the total amount of the assisted person’s legal costs:

  • the cost of lodging the caveat
  • the cost of any later withdrawal of the caveat.

Table 6 ― Costs of lodging and withdrawing a caveat

Procedure Registration fee (paid in person) Registration fee (paid by post)
Lodging a caveat – equitable charge $46.30 $51.30
Withdrawal of caveat $46.30 $51.30
Registration of statutory charges $92.70 n/a
Extinguishment of charge $92.70 n/a

The above figures are GST exclusive fees. In some circumstances VLA may be required to charge GST for lodging or registration of a caveat or charge.

Different costs apply for lodging or withdrawing caveats outside of Victoria.

Contact Client Contributions for further information about the costs of lodging and withdrawal of a caveat on (03) 9606 5356.