What Is a Property Caveat?


Quick Answer

The term property caveat refers to a statutory injunction on a piece of private property. A caveat serves as a legal or financial explanatory tool: in Latin, the phrase translates to "let him beware"; in real estate, it ensures all parties, including buyer and seller, have full knowledge of all facts and information in legal proceedings.

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Full Answer

A real estate caveat breaks down into two categories: "caveat emptor," referring to making the buyer beware of legal proceedings surrounding a property and "caveat subscriptor," which makes sellers aware of legal transactions on a piece of property. In addition to making parties aware of all pertinent legal facts, caveats serve as injunction measures. Lawyers may apply caveats to stop proceedings or place them on hold. When put in place, caveats prevent future actions surrounding property use. They might stop title transfers, leases and rental agreements, as well prevent the exchange of ownership. Caveats stop dealings on properties until formally terminated by courts or revoked. When engaging in real estate transactions, people typically apply for caveats when a transfer, mortgage or other registration mechanism for property does not suffice. Upon establishment, courts record caveats in writing. They may lapse or terminate through a formal court proceeding. As with other legal transactions, caveats follow a strict implementation and revocation process.

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