Headshot of Jessica Wadwell - Conveyancer at Everingham Solomons TamworthDoes all development need Council approval? 

The type and size of the development will determine whether Council approval is required.  Generally, minor development such as small decks or garden sheds are identified as exempt development and can be undertaken without Council approval.  Development such as home additions will require Council approval.  Prior to undertaking any development, you should seek Council or legal advice specific to your development.

How do I obtain Council approval of an unapproved structure? 

The owner or an authorised third party can apply for a Building Information Certificate.  This certificate is issued by Council and is confirmation that Council will not issue an order, or take proceedings for an order or injunction, for the repair, demolition, alteration, addition or rebuilding of the building.  Applying for this certificate will require a survey report of the property and Council’s inspection of the structure.  If Council refuses to issue the certificate, Council must notify the applicant setting out the reasons for its decision and the work required to be undertaken to permit a certificate to issue.  Depending upon the type of work required, this may result in additional costs.  Once issued, the certificate is for a period of seven (7) years and covers such matters which exist at the time of issue of the certificate.

Selling a property with an unapproved structure?

Vendors should discuss any unapproved structures on their property with their solicitor.  This is due to the prescribed warranty under the Conveyancing (Sale of Land) Regulation 2017 that provides ‘the vendor warrants that, as at the date of the contract and except as disclosed in the contract … there is no matter in relation to any building or structure on the land … that would justify the making of any upgrading or demolition order’.  A breach of this warranty by the vendor may result in the purchaser being permitted to rescind the Contract.

Purchasing a property? 

Be alert to structures that require Council approval.  Initially, you or your solicitor should make enquiries of the vendor to obtain copies of the Council approvals held.  If the vendor does not hold approvals, Council records can be inspected with consent of the vendor.  These records may take time to obtain, so parties should be conscious of potential delays.

Important reminder!

If you are planning to undertake development upon your property, check whether Council approval is required.  If so, ensure all approvals are in place before works are commenced and the works are consistent with the development consent.  Don’t forget to schedule the appropriate inspections during construction to obtain that final approval known as an occupation certificate.

Feeling overwhelmed by the process of obtaining Council approval?  Contact the friendly and experienced team at Everingham Solomons, where Helping You is Our Business.

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