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Property Law News June 2013

New regulations for "paper subdivisions"

A raft of changes to existing laws and regulations affects property lawyers, owners, developers and investors alike

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Paper Subdivisions) Regulation 2013 (NSW) affects owners of so-called “paper subdivisions”. A paper subdivision is a subdivision that is recorded by the preparation of a survey and registration of a plan of subdivision without the property itself being developed in any way. Subdivisions of this kind often involve the separate ownership of several individual lots within the plan by a number of disparate investors. Land contained in a paper subdivision is marked by a lack of roads and other services on the ground. The regulation enables the Minister for Planning to issue a subdivision order, which allows the Local Council to carry out works for the development and improvement of a paper subdivision and to require the owners of individual lots within the plan to contribute to the cost of these works. The regulation aims to spark development of otherwise vacant, stagnant properties within an undeveloped plan of subdivision.

Also in the area of planning law, the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment Regulation 2013 (NSW) now states that an occupation certificate may not issue for a new building unless the design and finished construction are consistent with the original development consent. The new Regulation will apply to all new builds constructed pursuant to development consents issued after 1 March this year.

Parties owning and operating retirement villages or buying and selling units within them should be aware that the Retirement Villages (Standard Contract) Regulation 2013 (NSW) now requires the use of a prescribed, simple English standard Contract for all transactions involving retirement villages. It is an offence under the legislation to fail to use the prescribed Contract in a transaction involving a unit within a retirement village, incurring a penalty of up to $5,500.00. In addition to the standard Contract, vendors are also required to issue two new disclosure documents to prospective purchasers of retirement units: a “General Inquiry Document” and a “Disclosure Statement”.

If you have a question or require assistance with a property transaction, development or the purchase of a unit in a retirement village, please feel free to contact Forum Law today to arrange an appointment with an experienced property lawyer.

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