Protect Your Assets

Did you know that you could easily lose legal ownership of your assets? How do you know if you have legal ownership of an asset you have purchased?

There is now legislation that determines these matters and it is quite different to the way we used to do business. As from 31st January 2014 the new legislation comes into force. The Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) is an Australian Government national online register of security interests in goods and other personal property which is regularly used by buyers, sellers and financiers.

Buyers can check the PPSR to see if the valuable second-hand goods they want to buy are debt-free and safe from repossession. This includes goods such as machinery, equipment, vehicles and stock. Doing a search to check before you buy is low cost, easy and immediate.

Businesses selling on terms, such as retention of title, or leasing out valuable goods should consider registering their interest on the PPSR.

Registering an interest in goods which a business hasn’t yet received payment for can help it recover the debt should a customer not pay or become insolvent.

Are you buying valuable second-hand items?

You can also check the Personal Property Securities Register to see if that second-hand machinery, equipment, vehicles, stock or other valuable used item you want to purchase is debt-free and safe from repossession. Doing a search to check before you buy is low cost, easy and immediate.

Court Cases

There have been some recent court cases in New Zealand (which introduced PPSA in 2002) and Australia.

One incident involved ‘leased portable buildings’, which were not registered under the PPSR by the owner.  As a result, the court held that the mortgagor had the right to sell the portable buildings to recoup their losses, even though the mortgagor was not the legal owner of the portable buildings.

Another case involved a stallion leased to a farming business.  The farming business got into financial difficulties, and a liquidator was appointed.  The court supported the concept of the liquidator being able to sell the stallion to recover funds for the secured creditor, even though the stallion was not owned by the farming business

Professional Advice

The PPSA is very complicated, and can cause immense problems for you and your businesses, which have not appropriately protected themselves.  Please do not hesitate to contact us for a discussion, to review your particular circumstances.