Property Purchase – Planning Due Diligence


With any sale of land contract there are many documents included as a part of the Contract for Sale. One of those documents is Planning Certificate issued by the local council. Without exception, a buyer seeks to purchase a property for a particular purpose or use. Ordinarily, for your average residential dwelling contract, the advice from a competent conveyancer or property lawyer is sufficient to expose any restraints on what the quiet enjoyment of your property after settlement will be.

What complicates matters is where there is an existing, or proposed, commercial use or uses involved. Understanding what ‘use’ a property can be lawfully used for often requires some specialist planning law advice as part of the due diligence process. Just because a particular use is made of a building now, doesn’t mean that particular use is lawful, and it doesn’t prevent the local council from enforcing a prohibition on that use in the future (by way of a compliance order and/or court order).

Planning law in NSW is a multi-layered beast. What is, or isn’t, permitted on land sometimes requires some investigation and contemplation. In addition to the question of use, there are also other matters that can affect the enjoyment of a property such as the specific terms of any development consent; planning and building controls (especially where building renovations, construction or expansion are envisaged); development potential for the property and any adjoining land; existing use rights; expansion of an existing use; easements (rights of way, service easements, easement of support of adjoining land); covenants; encroachments; dividing fence problems; neighbouring trees; adverse noise issues; protection of views or access to sunlight; contamination issues; and parking – just to name a few.

Some properties may be earmarked for part acquisition at some point in the future.

Our combined property and planning team at SWS can undertake that due diligence to give you the advice you need.   For an upcoming sale at an auction, we can complete that due diligence quickly and at a fixed price. We can provide the comfort of certainty.