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December 2016

Monthly Archives

Get to know just us….Andrea Whisson

Picture of Andrea WhissonANDREA WHISSON
FRONT DESK RECEPTION – KELVIN GROVE OFFICE

What is one movie or TV series that you can watch over and over again?

Broad City.

 

What do you like most about your job?

 We are fortunate enough to have a really great office environment, supportive bosses and wonderful clients.

 

Motto or personal mantra?

 Attitude is Aptitude.

 

What is one food do you wish had zero calories?

 Ice Cream!

 

What is the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery?

 A ‘round the world ticket… indefinitely.

 

What do you like to do on your days off?

 I enjoy seeing family and friends, going to the markets, the movies, beach, hiking, camping and binge watching TV series.

 

What was your favourite book, toy, or outfit as a child?

 Cinderella was my all-time favourite movie as a child.

 

Who is the person you have learnt the most from?

 Mum

 

What’s on your bucket list?

 Hot air balloon ride, Race Car Driving, and more travel!!

 

Where would you like to travel to?

 I would love to see more of Greece, Italy, and Spain and go to Turkey, Iran, Sweden, Iceland, Mexico, Canada, Japan.

 

Best vacation you’ve been to?

 In 2015 I travelled through Southern and Western Europe for 7 weeks with my sister.

 

Just Us Lawyers – for the best Conveyancing lawyers in Brisbane call/email Just Us Lawyers or complete our enquiry form for a quote today


Home For Rent

Purchasing an investment property? How to avoid problems with your tenants

Real Estate can make for a fantastic investment. However, you need to be careful as there are many risks involved when you rent out your new property.  As a new property owner you may encounter challenges in finding and retaining good tenants.  Before tenanting your new investment property it is worth becoming familiar with the property laws in your State so that you know what actions to take if or when tenant issues arise.

One issue which often arises is the repayment of bonds at the end of a lease. There is quite often a very large gap between the landlord’s views and expectations as to what the bond money should be used for and the tenant’s legal responsibilities.  Landlords are often emotionally attached to their properties and expect the tenants to leave the property in immaculate condition. The landlord needs to be realistic and allow fair wear and tear over the course of a tenant’s lease, which may well increase with the length of time that the tenants have resided in the property.  An emotional connection to the property can influence what the landlord perceives to be a reasonable standard for cleanliness, yard and garden maintenance etc.

Some landlords choose to manage their properties privately and save on real estate management costs. However, when a landlord doesn’t engage a property manager, the landlord needs to ensure that they are familiar with tenancy laws, abide by these laws, as well as keep a very accurate record of rental payments. There are other processes under the residential tenancies act regarding inspections, remedy and breach notices which must be assiduously followed by landlords if they are to self-manage properly.

When a tenant moves into a property, they may often complain that the property is not ‘clean’. This can be a difficult issue as cleanliness is subjective.  The tenant should inform the landlord if there are any issues with the property as soon as they move in.  Records should be made and kept of the condition of a property at the beginning and end of each tenancy. This may avoid disputes, or assist in resolving them if/when they arise. Taking photographs is a great way to prove that the property was left or handed over in a certain condition.

When selecting a property manager, you should consider the percentage of properties that are in arrears for the agent, as this may be a performance indicator.  Additionally, consider how much should be set aside from your rental income for maintenance issues in the future. Doing that in advance saves you from trying to find the money to meet expenses.

Remember, it is important to shop around when looking for a rental agent, their charges vary greatly.  Many charge high fees for telephone calls, postage and sundries, on top of management fees. Check the reputation of your agent by Googling their name and check any online ‘reviews’. If a Facebook page is available, see what their customers have to say about them.  This might be the best way to find out about common disputes that the agency has with their landlords.

Above all else, make sure you find an agent that you not only trust, but that will keep in touch and conduct regular three monthly inspections. A proactive and communicative property manager is what you are looking for.

Remember it is your property but your tenants have rights too.

Buying or selling your investment property contact Just Us Lawyers – for the best Conveyancing lawyers in Brisbane call/email Just Us Lawyers or complete our enquiry form for a quote today.


Unfair Dismissal

Unfair Dismissal : Costs implications in refusing settlement offers

by Ted Besley

Recent case law from the Fair Work Commission shows that employers and employees should be aware that unfair dismissal isn’t always a “costs free” jurisdiction. In particular, costs will be awarded where offers to settle are unreasonably refused in conciliation and an application dismissed at hearing. Conversely, costs will not be awarded merely because an offer has been refused, particularly where unreasonably advanced by employers.

 

Generally, parties bear their own costs in unfair dismissal proceedings before the Commission. However, there is a danger that indemnity costs will be awarded against employees who refuse settlement offers and then proceed to a hearing where it is found that their case has no merit.

Importantly, being self-represented (as many unfair dismissal applicants often are) may not be a sufficient excuse to avoid a costs order being made after an unsuccessful hearing. In the cases summarised below, the Commission found that the applicants’ conduct contained an element of recklessness and delinquency in continuing to pursue their applications in disregard of the facts of each matter. On the other hand, the rejection of a series of inconsistent offers made in conciliation was found to prevent a costs order being made.

Statutory regime

The provisions of the Fair Work Act which deal with costs are found at s 400A and s 611(2).  Section 400A gives the Commission discretion to award costs in unfair dismissal matters where a party has caused costs to be incurred by acting unreasonably or making a serious omission. In addition, costs can also be awarded under s 611(2) which specifically refers to vexatious applications/responses and either pursuing or defending an application without reasonable prospects.

The Case Law

In Steven Post, the employer had made a range of offers to settle beginning at five week’s pay up to the six month statutory maximum. The applicant rejected each offer and the matter proceeded to a hearing. Rather than find that the employee has been unfairly dismissed, the Commission found that they had committed serious misconduct in the course of their employment. In the circumstances, costs were awarded on the basis that the employee should have understood that their prospects at trial were slim and rejecting the offers was reckless.

Costs were awarded against an employee for similar reasons in Colin Ferry. There, an offer to settle had been made in writing following conciliation whereby the employers specifically stated that they intended to rely on it for the purposes of costs if the application was dismissed. Of crucial importance in making a costs order against the employee was that they had received the offer after getting the employer’s material (statements, documents submissions etc) for trial. The Commission found that despite being self-represented, the employee had enough material to know that their prospects of success were weak and proceeding to hearing was reckless in the circumstances.

Thaer Barkho, however, shows that refusing offers made in certain circumstances will not justify a costs order. In that case, the employer made an offer styled as ‘first and final’ which was later made again, then increased, and then repeated. The Commission found that it was reasonable for the employee to reject offers made in this fashion and the employer’s application for costs was dismissed.

Conclusion

The cases we have summarised show that employees should carefully consider offers made in the conciliation phase of an unfair dismissal application and think twice before ploughing on to a hearing. Being self-represented and having no legal experience will not avoid a costs order being made where offers to settle are rejected and a weak case brought to hearing.

Whether you an employer or employee, the team at Just Us Lawyers have decades of experience in employment law and can guide you through the system to ensure you get the best outcome.

 


Just Us Lawyers help Aboriginals fight Adani

Just Us Lawyers helps aboriginal traditional owners in their fight against Adani to keep their lands

Just Us Lawyers’ principal Colin Hardie was outside the Queensland Supreme Court to announce an appeal in relation to Government approval of the widely criticised Adani Carmichael coal mine.

Colin represents the Wangan and Jagalingou People, who have launched a number of legal challenges to mining giant Adani’s proposed mine, which is intended to be situated in central Queensland. If it goes ahead, the multi-billion dollar mine will result in Native Title being extinguished across 28 square kilometers of the Wangan and Jagalingou People’s traditional country.

The mine has been the subject of a lot of media attention, with environmentalists and other analysts questioning the impact it will have on the region, including on the Great Barrier Reef.

Just Us Lawyers will represent the Wangan and Jagalingou People in the appeal, arguing that they were denied natural justice by Queensland resources minister Anthony Lynham when he made the decision to grant mining leases for what is intended to be the world’s biggest coal mine.

Adrian Burragubba, spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou people, has raised concerns about the failure of both Adani and the State Government to acknowledge the traditional owners’ rights, and is quoted as saying “Every step of the way they have undermined us, opposed us and attempted to coerce us into accepting a pittance for relinquishing our native title.”

Read the full article published in the Guardian by Joshua Robertson here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/dec/07/indigenous-owners-launch-fresh-legal-challenge-to-adanis-carmichael-mine

And other related articles:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-05/what-we-know-about-adani-and-the-carmichael-mine-project/8094244

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-06/adani-claim-for-government-loan-questioned-after-admission/8097666

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/dec/03/adani-coal-mine-green-groups-fume-over-plan-for-1b-federal-loan

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-06/adani-coal-mine-carmichael-townsville-protest-gautam-premier/8095576

 


Get to know just us…..Mel Demarco

MEL DEMARCO
CONVEYANCING MANAGER – KELVIN GROVE OFFICE

 

If you could sum yourself up in 5 words, what words would they be?

 Fun, bubbly, enthusiastic, determined and short

 

What was your first job, and what did you like most about it?

 At Doomben Race Course, the entertainment of when people either won or lost their bets.

 

What is one movie or TV series that you can watch over and over again?

 Sex and the City.

 

What advice would you give to a 13 year old you?

 Listen to your elders!

 

Any favourite line from a movie?

 “Slippery Little Sucker”, Pretty Woman.

 

Best vacation you’ve been to?

America.

 

Favorite travel spot?

 Hawaii.

 

If you could change one thing about working here, what would it be?

Having a branch office on the Sunshine Coast.

 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

 Hopefully at a branch office on the Sunshine Coast!


Where is your favourite place to eat?

 Montezumas.

 

Where would you like to travel to?

 Malta.

 

Just Us Lawyers – for the best Conveyancing lawyers in Brisbane call/email Just Us Lawyers or complete our enquiry form for a quote today


Just Us Lawyers supports Brisbane City Football Club

Just Us Lawyers supports the Brisbane City Football Club with Gold Sponsorship

Just Us Lawyers is a proud sponsor of the Brisbane City Football Club.  Last week Mel Demarco, Natalie Smyth and Tara Dodd, from Just Us Lawyers, met with David Asnicar, Club President, to announce Just Us Lawyers’s Gold Sponsorship for the Club’s 2017 year. 

Brisbane City Football Club Press release:

bcfc-logo

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT – JUST US LAWYERS TAKES GOLD SPONSORSHIP and supports the full time Brisbane City Football Club Goalkeeping Academy.

Brisbane City Football Club is proud to announce Just Us Lawyers has upgraded to be a Gold Club Sponsor for the 2017 Season as well as a Sponsor of the Brisbane City Football Club Goalkeeping Academy.

Just Us Lawyers will maintain a signage presence on Corporate Travel Management Stadium and at our Mark Street Training Grounds, in addition to becoming a significant jersey sponsor for 2017.

“It’s great to have the Team from Just Us Lawyers showing increased confidence in the club and our Football Development programs as we move forward into 2017. “ said Club President David Asnicar

Colin Hardie, Principal of Just Us Lawyers, commented,  

“We are very pleased to support the efforts of David and the management committee in turning the club’s financial fortunes around. We are proud to contribute to the development of junior football and the multi-cultural community spirit that is at the very heart of the Brisbane City Football Club.”

Just Us Lawyers will help you with any legal issues relating to Conveyancing, Property, Commercial Business and Wills and Estates, with a dedicated, experienced and professional team.

Just Us Lawyers are a local firm that strives for a personal approach and will unravel even the most complicated legal issues for you.

See www.justuslaw.com for more details on the services Just Us Law provide.

If you are able to join our Sponsors in supporting the clubs expansion and improvement for 2017 and beyond please call Phil Keogan on 0412 639 861

Please support our Sponsors.

Welcome back Colin and the Just Us Lawyers Family.

Thank you David and the Brisbane City Football Club – wishing you the very best for 2017.