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Common issues regarding property heritage listings


For property owners, having their property subjected to a heritage-listing can often be met with apprehension. Concerns relating to heritage listing of a property are not limited to purchasing a property, because your property could be nominated for a heritage listing at any time. This can happen in a variety of ways including at your instigation, by the local council or, if the heritage value is of sufficient significance, through the state government.

At Hones Lawyers, we are familiar with the types of issues that arise for consideration in relation to heritage listing of property. Here is a list of five common concerns.


#1 Restrictions on Property Renovations and Alterations

It is important to be aware that, if you own a property that is subject to a heritage listing, then you should expect to be subjected to additional limitations on the types of property alterations, renovations and redevelopment that you will be permitted to carry out that do not apply to properties which are not so listed.

In relation to locally listed items of environmental heritage, these are identified in the applicable local environmental plan. With some exceptions for minor works and maintenance, special heritage provisions require development consent to be obtained for demolition and alterations of heritage listed buildings. The impacts of proposed works upon heritage values will be required to be assessed.

The effect of a State heritage listing is that a person cannot, amongst other things, alter or demolish the building without first obtaining approval from the Heritage Council. Restrictions also apply to the land upon which the building is located. Hones Lawyers can assist you to understand the limitations that might apply to your property.


#2 Nearby heritage properties

When it comes to heritage buildings, care needs to be taken even if your property is not itself subject to such a listing.

Property owners can be taken by surprise because if your property is adjacent to, or in the vicinity of a listed heritage item, then an additional level of assessment will be required that may limit your ability to renovate or develop your property, even though it is not subject to a listing. 

If you believe that your property may be affected by these types of heritage provisions, Hones Lawyers can provide you with expert legal advice.


#3 Heritage Conservation Areas

There are many properties which, although they are not subject to an actual heritage listing, they are located within what are known as Heritage Conservation Areas. In some local council areas such as, for example, Woollahra, Randwick, North Sydney, Mosman and Hunters Hill there are numerous Heritage Conservation Areas.

This means that, even if your property is not subject to a heritage listing, it is not adjacent to a heritage item, and is not in the vicinity of a heritage item, there are still additional planning controls which potentially limit the extent of redevelopment and renovations that can be carried out to properties located within these areas. You may find yourself in a situation where, due to the contribution that your current building makes to the streetscape, you may not be permitted to demolish it. If you want to find out more about your legal position, Hones Lawyers can provide you with specialist advice.


#4 Challenging heritage listings

If you do not want your property to be heritage listed, then you need to take prompt action. However, your options are limited. If you are notified of an interim heritage order being made in respect of your property, then you have only 28 days to commence an appeal in the Land and Environment Court. Hones Lawyers can prepare your appeal with an extensive, specialised background in environmental law.


#5 Seeking a heritage listing

Some property owners want to have their properties listed as a heritage item but aren’t sure about how to progress this themselves. This is because the process can be time-consuming, unclear and confusing. It involves detailed assessment that needs to be undertaken by appropriately qualified heritage consultants. Hones Lawyers is able to assist with applications for heritage listings.

If you require more information regarding heritage listed properties, get in touch with the team at Hones Lawyers today on 02 8318 0788.

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