Council Land on Your Property?

Council Land on Your Property?

If you see council land or related rights on your title, you may be a bit confused by the terminology or the actual status of that land.

In Australian cities, particularly older areas, local councils may have some rights over your land for various reasons. These title issues are often the result of a century of title additions, often put in place to solve the problems of the time.

Different Types of Council Land

Rights of way are a good example of one type of council land.

On Pre-Torrens titles, rights of way were used to provide access to landlocked titles that otherwise couldn’t access a road or to allow owners direct access to their properties. A right of way simply establishes the right of access for landowners. With title changes to adjoining land, many old rights of way have become obsolete. They are still found on the title, but now functionally unnecessary.

Other types of “council land” include much more important rights, like easements. Easements are council or public authority rights that cover things like drainage, electricity, roads authorities or other types of infrastructure for a public purpose. These rights do impact your ability to use the land, and can’t be built on.

What to Do about Council Land on Your Property

The main problem for landowners is that encumbrances on a title don’t look good for sales purposes. It may also be an obstacle to building and development. Your building application may not be approved simply because an encumbrance is still on your title.

If you have a council right of way, road reserve, or another type of encumbrance on your title, you may be able to have it removed. Many older title encumbrances are obsolete and no longer required. Even road reserves may have become obsolete, superseded by new planning and new developments.

Easements are different. Like the other rights over your land, a few may be outdated, but generally, councils retain these rights for access to their infrastructure. Most easements are still operational and required for council works.

Removing Easements & other Encumbrances – Get Expert Help!

Even so, you have right to get matters of this kind resolved. What you can do is apply to have the encumbrance removed. This can be quite simple in the case of rights of way or other non-operational encumbrances. Easements, however, may have to be excised from the title by formal acquisition and title alteration. Under compulsory acquisition legislation, you may be compensated at market rates for the land to be acquired and excised.

Councils may even suggest acquisition to resolve title encumbrances of this type.

Have your title examined by property title experts before entering into any formal process. These processes can be expensive and time-consuming and in some cases, it’s simply not possible to alter title encumbrances. An expert in the area will be able to examine your situation and provide professional advice.

Trying to Manage Title Issues in Queensland?

Arnold Development Consultants can help you with expert advice and guidance on managing title issues. Contact us online or call your nearest office for all the help you need.