Harry Formby of Formbys Lawyers has acted acted in advisory roles of the sales of major Western Australia Pastoral enterprises.
Over the years he has acted on the sale and purchase of numerous pastoral leases and pastoral enterprises.
The sale of pastoral properties involves different considerations to the sale of a farm or other property. It is more akin to the sale of a business. Stations are usually sold as a going concern. As it is a farming business it is not comparable with the sale of a business conducted from leased or owned premises.
Farms are not normally sold as a going concern they are sold bare, the stock and other business assets are not included in the sale. The Buyer buys the land and the fixed improvements.
Pastoral properties are in Western Australia held under a lease from the State the operator does not own the freehold. Sometime there may be freehold areas within the pastoral lease. What the buyer buys is the leasehold interest of the Seller and buys the balance of the term of the lease and then holds the lease on the same terms as the seller.
A pastoral property cannot be purchased without prior Ministerial consent under the Land Administration Act. The contract must always be conditional on the Minister consenting to the purchase by the buyer.
There are many matters which do not arise in a normal sale and purchase of freehold property.
If you are thinking about buying a station then we can provide you with preliminary advice on what you should be looking out for and assist you in preparation of appropriate contract to purchase of the station property so your interests are protected.
Some of the matters which need to be considered are:
- Restrictions on the use of the property;
- Native Title claims;
- Native title determinations;
- Indigenous land use agreements;
- Should you get a Landgate property interest report and what does that report tell you about what you are wanting to buy;
- How are livestock numbers to be determined;
- What are the restrictions on the number of livestock that can be run on the station;
- Appropriate clauses to adjust the purchase price should that be necessary;
- Enquiries on encumbrances over plant and equipment;
- Do you qualify for approval of the purchase of the property under the Land Administration Act;
- What or are your ongoing obligations in relation to the property under the Land Administration Act.
- What is involved in obtaining Ministerial approval;
- What information do you have to supply to the Minister and what form does that information have to take;
- What does the Ministerial approval to sell the pastoral lease mean and what impact does it have on your proposal to purchase the property;
- Are the restrictions and exclusion of warranties in the contract proposed by the seller appropriate or reasonable;
- The transfer of brands and earmarks.
- The transfer of any permits and licences held for the property;
- The nature of the estate and interests you are acquiring.
The list is not intended or meant to be exhaustive and is a guide only
What is intended is to highlight some of them matters involved in the purchase of a station in Western Australia.