What is a section 149 certificate?
A Section 149 Planning Certificate of the NSW Environment Planning and Assessment Act 1979 is a legal document that confirms the zoning and applicable rules for development of your property.
By law the Section 149 Certificate must be attached to all contracts for Sale of property.
Two types of Section 149 Certificates (2) and (5)
There are two types of Section 149 Planning Certificates.
• A certificate issued under Section 149(2) provides information about the zoning of the property, the relevant state and local planning controls and various other property affectations. The matters addressed by Section 149(2) certificates are governed by the Act and Regulations.
• A certificate under Sections 149(2) and (5) provides the information required by Legislation under Section 149(2) together with any additional relevant matters affecting the land of which Council is aware, for example, decisions of Council to review its planning controls for the land.
What information is in a Sections 149 certificate?
It includes information such as the land zone (e.g. R2 Residential) as well as whether it is affected by Bushfire?
Flood Plane or Tidal Zone – is there a likelihood of a 1 in 100 year flood?
Is the land located in a Local Heritage Conservation Area?
Tree presevation orders?
The minimum sizes for Homes on the land, and setbacks from the boundaries. Any critical habitat? Coastal protection? It also states which State Government policies apply to the site (SEPP).
A Section 149 certificate is not a development approval
While a Section 149 Planning Certificate identifies all the relevant planning documents that apply to the property, it does not specify development standards or terms of the instruments.
A Section 149 certificate is not a development approval, however, if you’re looking to do a development, the documentation required for your approval will be dependant on what is shown in the 149 Certificate.
If your property is in a flood zone, you may require a flood report and may need to build the floor level of your dwelling higher, or you may not be able to build at all.
When is a Section 149(2) required?
You will need a fresh 149(2) Certificate if you are selling your house if the purchase of that house was completed more than 3 months prior to the sale.
It is important that it isn’t too old as policies within councils change on a regular basis.
Who issues a section 149 section?
The local Council where your property is located will issue you the Certificate, you can apply online or in person and the cost varies from Council to Council.
Garth Brown’s Comments
As a Conveyancer the Section 149 Certificate is one of the most important items to be read prior to purchasing a site as the restrictions on the property may greatly affect the sale price.
It is also the most useful document because it confirms the Title reference and the Street address, and sometimes the Owner – when all three line up it ensures the true identity of what is being transferred to the Purchaser preventing the wrong property being Conveyed.
Interestingly there are two heritage registers – one for the local Council and a State register – your Conveyancer needs to check both these registers.
You must be aware that if you Buy in a Heritage Conservation area and intend to renovate you are required to maintain the style and colors of other properties in the area.
And, if there are any tree preservation orders, you will need Council approval to remove a Tree.