Looking to develop your land? Here are 4 things to look out for 

Purchasing a block of land is an exciting process to bring to life your dream home on a blank canvas. However, we have seen mistakes you can try to avoid. In addition to planning permit requirements and specific regulations, there are various other means by which property development can be restricted, including the following:  

  1. Easements  
  1. Covenants;  
  1. Council overlays; and  
  1. Section 173 Agreements.  

Easements 

An easement is a section of land used for specific purposes defined by authorities. If the land is affected by any water and or sewerage easements, you will need to allow access to the area and not build anything of a permanent nature over the easement. If you are planning to build over or near such easements, you will need to obtain consent from your Water Authority, such as Melbourne Water, before commencing any work.  

Covenants

A covenant may be lodged by the original owner on a title and usually requires the land to be used in a particular way. For example, a covenant may require that only a single-story dwelling may be built or prevent subdivision of the block. Before subdividing land, we recommend investigating if there are any restrictions preventing subdivision or construction of multiple dwellings on a block. 

Overlays 

An overlay is a method of planning control from the Council’s Planning Scheme detailing the use and development of the land. It is important to enquire if the property is affected by an overlay to confirm the Council’s permit requirements before commencing any works or removal. 
 
For example, a significant landscape overlay may prohibit the removal of native vegetation and trees. Also, land with risk of fires, such as properties in a bushfire zone, can have additional planning requirements and add additional construction costs. These can include installation of BAL rated doors and windows, accessible water tanks, and more. 

Section 173 Agreements 

A Section 173 Agreement is an agreement between the Council and the landowner providing conditions or restrictions for the development of the land. This is to ensure that planning objectives will be adhered to.  
For example, the agreement on the title may note that the construction of property needs to comply with the original planning permit. 

How Wealthsource can help 

Purchased land can be affected by multiple covenants, easements, overlays, and Section 173 Agreements. This information is typically disclosed in the Contract of Sale and Section 32. We previously touched on the importance of a Section 32. At Wealthsource, we can assist you to review the Contract of Sale and Section 32 Vendor’s Statement to help you make an informed decision.