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BUYING A PROPERTY WITH A JETTY OR PONTOON

Before buying your dream waterfront property, there are a few legal issues to consider if the property comes with a jetty or pontoon.

1. Are there any leases associated with the jetty / pontoon?

In some councils, use of the structure may automatically pass with ownership of the property and no further arrangements are required. 

In other councils, however, there may be a lease recorded on title for the structure and you will need to obtain council’s approval to assign the lease into your name at settlement.  Before agreeing to the assignment, council may require you to obtain insurance that specifically refers to the structure and lease (and only some insurance providers offer such policies).  Organising all of this can take time.  As such, it is important you make your conveyancer aware of the jetty / pontoon at the beginning of the conveyancing process so they can make the necessary enquiries.  You should also be aware of any ongoing costs associated with the lease for your budgeting purposes.

2. Does the jetty / pontoon have council approval?

As part of your due diligence, you may want to order a council approvals search to determine if the structure was approved by council at the time of construction. If it wasn’t, council could require you to remove the structure or obtain approval at your cost.

3. Is the property located at the Gold Coast?

If you are purchasing or selling in the Gold Coast, you should ensure the contract contains a Local Law 17 special condition.  The clause should note the following:

  • Section 15 of Local Law 17 applies to the contract;
  • Confirmation of the specified prescribed work that is completely or partly situated on the lot. A ‘specified prescribed work’ includes a revetment wall, training wall, jetty or pontoon;
  • Notice that, under Local Law 17, a person who is a responsible person for the specified prescribed work is, at that person’s cost, required to maintain and keep the specified prescribed work in a safe condition and good working order, repair and condition, including so that the prescribed work can continue to perform its intended function. The ‘responsible person’ is generally the owner of the connected land; and
  • Confirmation of whether or not there is an outstanding notice issued by the local government under Local Law 17 in relation to the specified works and, if so, the contents of that notice

Sellers can face fines if they fail to include a clause noting the above matters.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DISCUSS YOUR RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS ASSOCIATED WITH WATERWAY STRUCTURES, PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT THE MAP LAWYERS’ TEAM.
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