Chartered Accountants

Say "Cheese" (A Practical Idea)

The lease of a farm property or building is, of necessity, a relatively complex Contract. It usually extends over a lengthy period and it is difficult to prescribe the level of maintenance required for all aspects of property.

The Lessee is normally required to maintain all buildings, fences, culverts, races, tracks, ditches, hedges, gateways, etc (the list can be endless) in the same condition, fair wear and tear excepted, as they were at the commencement of the lease.

Disputes often flare at the termination of the lease when the owners retake possession of an asset which they consider has deteriorated since they leased it out three, five or ten years ago.

That's when the litigation starts. The Courts, of course, require evidence and there is always a wide discrepancy between the recollections (three, five or ten years ago) of the two parties to the Lease Contract.

We recommend:

* Get one of those cameras or an iPhone that records the date on the photograph and run off a couple of rolls of film, covering as many aspects of the property as possible.

* Develop and print two copies of all the photographs - one for the Lessee (tenant), one for the Lessor (owner). Save a copy to a database.

* If it's a farm property, do a partial repeat of the process on a couple of occasions during the first year of the lease. Ragwort, thistles and other weeks are dormant during the winter, so you need some spring, summer and autumn shots.

* If you are an amateur photographer always take photos about midmorning. You don't get good quality shots after about midday.

Hard evidence in the form of dated photographs is difficult to refute. $50 spent on photography may save you $5,000 of legal fees.

Other uses including:

1. Identifying lost property

2. Assist valuers when collections, paintings or other valuables are lost

3. Proving to your mates that you did actually catch a big fish!!!

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