Would you believe me if I told you that you could be happily contracting to a customer or storing some of your business assets at premises not owned by you and that all of a sudden you could lose all ownership rights to those assets.
They could be sold without your consent and the proceeds paid to someone else.
I was incredulous when I realised that this is in face the case, and one of the possible side effects of the Personal Property Securities Act or “PPSA”.
I thought that there was no way that legislation could allow that. How could you all of the sudden have no rights to your own assets? How could you be prevented from accessing the premises you lease and using the assets that you own within those premises? On what basis would you have to repay money that you have received from a customer back to an administrator appointed to the customer?
Unfortunately, it is all true and all possible. If you undertook some online research on “Maiden Civil” and you will come up with pages of results from solicitors talking about the PPSA – an Australian case where a customer used a supplier’s assets as security and then had them sold off by an administrator.
However, I could not find one solicitor that talked about a solution.
In my 25 years of advising businesses I have not seen legislation such as this that can have such a major impact and yet have so little information provided about it.
The aim of the PPSA is to allow businesses, particularly in the SME space, to use their property to secure lending, however the loophole inherent creates opportunities for unscrupulous businesses.
The PPSA legislation was been introduced to help protect business but requires proactive steps to be taken or you are in a worse situation than you ever would have been under the old definition of ‘ownership’.
To work to combat this issue the Personal Property Securities (PPS) Register was created, which is an online register of all personal property that has security interests registered against it.
In addition, to help educate the business community I set up a website called PPSA Solution. It provides information and examples of the negative impact of the legislation.
Solicitors and other specialists can provide a legal solution that encompasses terms of trade and registration of assets on the Personal Property Securities Register, or “PPSR”.
Educate yourself; take action (either through your own solicitor or PPSA Solution). Just do something, otherwise you could be the victim of another bad PPSA story.