Do you lease equipment (either formally or informally) to clients and friends? What about that cement mixer or excavator you let your mate borrow over a year ago?

If yes, you need to consider the Personal Property and Securities Register (“PPSR”) to ensure you are able to get your equipment back in the event that your client or mate goes broke. Imagine the loss to your business if you were to lose 1 or more pieces of equipment in this situation!

The PPSR is a national online register where parties can record their security interests in particular items of personal property. It can assist in protecting your business and assets from creditors. It is available 24/7, and for approximately $10.00, you can record your interests in equipment that you might have out on hire, for 7 years.

For example, you loan your cement mixer to a mate’s business, and register this hire correctly on the PPSR. The business unexpectedly has liquidators appointed 18 months down the track. Thankfully, the PPSR will provide you with some protection and a leg to stand on in asserting your rights to the cement mixer, when it was not in your possession.

If you had not correctly registered your interests in the cement mixer (and were required to do so) whilst on hire to your mate’s business, and other conditions were satisfied, you could lose your cement mixer to the liquidators, even though you own it!

When do you need to register?

You will need to record your interests on the PPSR on any equipment that is:

  1. out on hire for a term of greater than two years, or for an indefinite period of time once the hire exceeds two years (that is, on terms such as “just take it for as long as you need it”);
  2. considered personal property – provided it is not affixed to the land, most types of plant and equipment used in the construction industry will be considered personal property.

For a registration to be required under the legislation, there are also some additional conditions that need to be satisfied, such as that your business is “regularly engaged in the business” of hiring equipment, and that the hire was provided “for value”. These conditions may not be satisfied if you are just loaning a piece of equipment to a mate, on a once-off occasion, however, you should always seek appropriate advice. Your hire agreement should be in wirting and signed by the hirer.

What do I need to register?

To register on the PPSR, you will need:

  1. To set up your business as a secured party on the PPSR (www.ppsr.gov.au)
  2. Full details about your customer who has your equipment
  3. Full details about the equipment – for example, if a motor vehicle you will need a VIN number.

As you can see, the PPSR regime is complex, and can be fatal if not adhered to, or you get it wrong. Contact us for further advice.