Buying and selling property

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Before you go too far down the track of investing in plans to develop or purchase a property, you should make sure you understand the opportunities and constraints of the land and the area.

Book a free appointment (30 minutes) with one of our officers to discuss your plans and find out more information about a property.

When buying a property you should seek legal advice from a solicitor or conveyancer. They will give you detailed information to protect your interests including requirements under the Conveyancing Act 1919 and the Local Government Act 1993.

Written information about a specific property can be sought from Council on request and payment of the relevant fee. The request for information is usually applied for by the owner or someone with the written consent of the owner or by the solicitor.

Common searches for property sale or purchase

To find out more about applying for these searches, how much they cost and how to pay, visit conveyancing applications.

Revenue certificates (rates and water)

Section 603 Certificate

A 603 Certificate is required during the sale of property. It shows if there are any outstanding fees for rates, water or charges due to Council for a property (Lot and DP).

Postponed rates appear on a 603 as a debt against the property.

Timing: The standard certificate is generally processed within 5 working days.

Apply:
Paying by credit card - ePayment and Property Services
Other payment methods - Conveyancing form

Special water meter reading

This is requested during the sale of a property. Council will do an individual water meter reading for a specific water meter at a property to show the water consumption.

The reading is from the latest water notice issued to the special water meter reading date. This helps to calculate the consumption amount during the settlement process that is yet to be billed.

Timing: The standard certificate is generally processed within 5 - 10 working days.

Apply:
Paying by credit card - ePayment and Property Services
Other payment methods - Conveyancing form

To advise Council of the settlement details please use our Property settlement payment allocation form(PDF, 68KB)

Read more about meter reading and billing schedule.

Development Certificates (10.7)

Planning certificates 10.7

Planning certificates are required upon the sale or purchase of a property. A zoning certificate must be included in the sale contract.

Section 10.7 Planning Certificates, also known as zoning certificates, are legal documents issued by Council under the provisions of Section 10.7 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

The certificate provides information on planning controls and any development restrictions which may apply to a particular parcel of land within the Council area.

There are 2 types of certificates:

10.7 (2) Certificate

This provides information (including but not limited to):

  • Land Zoning
  • Flooding
  • Bushfire
  • Applicable Local Environmental Plans and Development Control
10.7 (2) and (5) Certificate

This provides the same information as above but also includes:

  • Development approval/s issued within the last 5 years
  • Draft Environmental Planning Instruments
  • Further information regarding contamination (if applicable)
  • Building height
  • Aircraft noise

Timing: The standard certificate is generally processed within 5 working days.

Apply: 
Paying by credit card – ePayment and Property Services 
Other payment methods – Conveyancing form

Dwelling Entitlement Search

Not all properties have a legal right to build a dwelling on them. Dwelling Entitlements can be dependent upon zoning, lot size and date of subdivision approval.

Dwelling Entitlement searches provide formal advice determining whether a property has a legal right to construct a dwelling. Dwelling Entitlement advice cannot be given verbally. An application must be submitted to Council.

Please note that if there are multiple lots you need to apply for each lot on a separate application form and pay the applicable fee per lot.

Timing:  The standard search is generally processed within 14 working days, dependent on information being available.

Apply:
Paying by credit card – ePayment and Property Services 
Other payment methods – Conveyancing form

Development Consent Search

A Development Consent search is generally applied for when purchasing land.

The consent search investigates and provides copies of all approvals issued on the current (and past) lot for a particular land parcel.

Please note that if there are multiple lots you need to apply for each lot on a separate application form and pay the applicable fee per lot.

Timing: The standard search is generally processed within 14 working days.

Apply:
Paying by credit card - ePayment and Property Services
Other payment methods - Conveyancing form

Existing Use Rights

This information has been prepared to assist existing landowners and business operators and potential land purchasers in understanding how “existing use rights” can be established and continued for a property of interest in the Tweed Shire, as it relates to Council’s current primary statutory planning documents, the Tweed Local Environmental Plan 2014 and Tweed City Centre Local Environmental Plan 2012.

Given the legal complexities of “existing use rights” State planning legislation, Tweed Council is not in position to provide definitive advice on whether or not a property enjoys existing or continuing use rights, outside of lodging a development application or modification application for a new development on this property.

Whilst this information provides a guide to “existing use rights”, it is strongly recommended that you gain your own expert planning and legal advice prior to making any decision to purchase or redevelop a property that you are interested in.

What is an ‘existing use’?

The definition of “existing use” can be found in clause 4.65 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

A land use that has lawfully commenced with development consent but may become a prohibited use due to a subsequent change in planning legislation (such as a new LEP) is known as an existing use. Where this occurs, the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) and Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulations 2000 (EP&A Regs.) allow previous land use rights to continue to operate on the land.

Why do we have existing use rights?

Existing use rights provide certain protections to landowners from changes to planning laws that apply to their land. They allow people to continue to live in their homes for example or operate their businesses as they did before the change, until they decide they no longer wish to do so.

How do you determine if a land use is currently permissible or prohibited?

Council’s current primary statutory planning documents, the Tweed Local Environmental Plan 2014 and Tweed City Centre Local Environmental Plan 2012, contain both defined land uses and zoning tables that prescribe both permissibility and prohibitions that can apply differently to individual land parcels.

Council’s Da tracker and property search provides access to extensive mapping and copies of the above LEPs.

You can also confirm the LEP zoning of a property through the purchase of  a Section 10.7 Planning Certificates (see section above), also known as zoning certificates, which are legal documents issued by Council under the provisions of Section 10.7 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

Can you continue an existing use?

The provisions of the EP&A Act allow lawful existing uses to continue operating without the need for further approval to be obtained from Council, provided that the nature of the use remains the same as that which existed prior to the Tweed LEPs coming into force.

If a person is conducting an existing use on a property, and wishes to undertake any of the following, prior development consent from Council will be required:

a. Any alteration or extension to, or rebuilding of, a building or work; or

b. Any enlargement, expansion or intensification of the use.

An existing use cannot be amended through the exempt or complying development pathways.

Amending an existing use right can only occur through the development application process.

Can existing use rights lapse?

Yes. If an existing use on affected land ceases for more than 12 months, it is considered that the existing use may have been abandoned, and existing use rights may no longer apply.

What should you do if you intend to rely on existing use rights?

You do not need to do anything to secure an existing use. However, you should be aware that evidence may be needed to demonstrate the existence of an existing use if issues of compliance arise, you wish to expand the use, or you are required to prove that the existing use right has not been abandoned. Documentation may include:

  • The development consent (if consent was required) or evidence that shows that the land use was lawfully occurring at the time the new LEP came into force; and
  • Records of activity relating to land that relies on existing/continuing use rights, such as receipts relating to operations on the affected property and written records of activities undertaken on, or in relation to, the affected property.

You can apply to search for these records through Council’s GIPA (Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009) service.

Important note: While Council Staff can assist where possible, the onus of establishing existing use rights or demonstrating that the existing use has not been abandoned is that of the applicant. Applicants may need to seek their own Legal or Planning Advice with regard to establishing existing use rights.

What happens to the existing use rights if you sell your land?

Existing use rights stay with the land and not the owner of land. As long as the use continues as described above, the new owner can continue to live or operate a business where the existing use right has been lawfully established.

Building, environmental and health searches

Drainage diagram

A drainage diagram is a copy of a plan showing the location of Council’s sewer mains in relation to the property boundaries.

The diagram is valuable as the sewer main position can impact on the development of the site. It also provides the directional flow of the sewer mains.

Timing: The standard diagram is generally processed within 10 working days.

Apply:
Paying by credit card - ePayment and Property Services
Other payment methods - Conveyancing form

Read more about stormwater and water connections and disconnections.

Outstanding Health or Building notices

A Health or Building notice is a notification, order, direction or demand issued by Council on a building in relation to health or building matters.

The Local Government Act and Environmental Planning and Assessment Act allows a person to apply to Council to find out if there are any such notification, order, direction or demand outstanding and any action proposed to be taken or that may be taken by Council in relation to any notice.

Timing: The standard search is generally processed within 10 - 15 working days.

Apply: Conveyancing form

Onsite Sewerage Management Inspection and pre-purchase report

An on-site sewage management system inspection report is a written report issued by Council following inspection of all existing waste-water treatment, reuse and disposal systems installed within the property.

The report details the general condition and adequacy of all sewage management systems at the time of the inspection and includes recommendations for any necessary rectification or remediation works.

Timing: The report is generally processed within 10 - 15 working days.

Apply:
Paying by credit card - ePayment and Property Services
Other payment methods - Conveyancing form

Read more about on-site sewage management.

Building Information Certificate

Applications lodged on or after 13 December will be processed from Monday 10 January 2022, when Council resumes operations after the end-of-year closedown.

A Building Information Certificate (if issued) is a formal certificate issued by Council which states that Council will not take action (for a period of 7 years) in respect to a building which may include any unauthorised building work, dilapidated structure or building encroachment onto public land.

Council may require certain works to be carried out prior to the issue of the certificate or may refuse to issue a building information certificate.

The Building Information Certificate does not certify that the building complies with the relevant legal requirements, nor is it a status report in respect of the defects or contraventions which may exist in the building. Should this information be required, you are advised to seek the opinion and services of a reputable building inspection organisation.

A Building Information Certificate is not a mandatory requirement when buying or selling a property but is strongly recommended by Council as it assists to protect the purchaser and lending institution. The inspection may reveal such things as any illegal building works, unauthorised use, structural defects and fire safety issues.

The certificate is only valid in regard to anything that existed at the time of the inspection.

Apply: Through the NSW Planning Portal

Please know the planning portal does not accept incomplete applications.

Council’s Building Information Certificate application checklist(PDF, 665KB) aims to assist you with collating the documents required for your application.

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment have produced a Building Information Certificate information page  to help landowners understand and apply the appropriate legislation.

Swimming Pool Certificate

A Swimming Pool Compliance Certificate is a formal certificate issued by Council which states that at the time of inspection the swimming pool complies with the requirements of Part 1 of the Swimming Pools Act 1992, which includes the requirements for swimming pool fencing.

The owner must be the applicant and this is a requirement of sale.

Timing: The certificate is generally processed within 15 - 20 working days.

Apply:
Application for Certificate of Compliance(PDF, 114KB) (Swimming pool)
Application for Certificate of Exemption(PDF, 134KB) (Swimming pool)

Read more about swimming pools and spas.

Copy of approved building plans

With the owner’s consent you can request a copy of approved plans relating to a building on the property.

To find out more, and submit your application, visit building information applications.

Occupation Certificate

An Occupation Certificate is a certificate that authorises the occupation and use of a new building or the change of use of an existing building.

With the owners consent you can apply for a copy of an Occupation Certificate where one has been issued for a building.

How to apply: Visit the NSW Planning Portal.

Deposited Plans or Instrument 88B

An 88b instrument is part of a deposited plan. Upon registration, this can be used to create easements, restrictions on land use and covenants.

Deposited Plans define legal boundaries of land and often record subdivisions, easements, resumptions or are prepared to support Primary Applications. Deposited Plans (and Strata Plans) are copyright to the NSW Land and Property Information (NSW LPI).

How to apply: Copies of plans can be obtained from NSW Land and Property Information (NSW LPI) or call 1300 396 076.