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ACT property owners asked to explain lack of building

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ACT property owners asked to explain lack of building

Canberra property owners are being asked to explain why they have not built on land they purchased more than two years ago, Planning Minister Simon Corbell has said.

Mr Corbell said the ACT Planning and Land Authority had audited single residential leases across the ACT and found many property owners had not developed their land in the required timeframes.

“In Canberra, construction on residential blocks must start within 12 months of the commencement of the lease and development must be completed within 24 months,” Mr Corbell said.

“The ACT Planning and Land Authority’s audit, begun in late 2006 and finished earlier this year, has found breaches of 288 leases. Building work has not started on 89 blocks and it has not been completed on 199 blocks within the required times.

“Property owners who have started building or who still intend to build have been told that they need to request an extension of time explaining their situation and intentions. If the request is approved, they need to pay extension of time fees, which are currently $1200 a year per block.

“The fees for the 288 uncompleted residential blocks total $290,000, of which about $135,000 has been paid. One developer owns 18 of the undeveloped blocks and has failed to submit development applications for any of them, resulting in $36,000 of fees.

“The timeframes exist to ensure that development actually occurs, so there are no pockets of undeveloped land in suburbs.”

Mr Corbell said property owners who no longer intended to build could consider surrendering the lease to the Territory or they could sell the property to someone who did want to build on it, subject to approval from the Territory.

He reminded property owners that it was a legal obligation to ensure the land was developed within the timeframe prescribed on a lease.

“From now on, systematic audits will be made to ensure that land owners are meeting the conditions of their leases,” he said.

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