So…what exactly is residential property in NSW?

Seems pretty obvious hey, but maybe it’s not exactly what you think. In NSW the term “residential property” is defined in the Conveyancing Act 1919 as:

(a) land on which are situated (or in the course of construction) not more than two places of residence, and no other improvements, or

(b) vacant land on which the construction of a single place of residence alone is not prohibited by law, or

(c) a lot or lots (including a proposed lot or lots) under the Strata Schemes (Freehold Development) Act 1973 or the Strata Schemes (Leasehold Development) Act 1986 , comprising not more than one place of residence alone, whether constructed or in the course of construction, and including any place used or designed for use for a purpose ancillary to the place of residence.

(2) Residential property does not however include:

(a) land or a lot that is used wholly for non-residential purposes, or

(b) land that is more than 2.5 hectares in area (or such other area as may be prescribed).

(3) For the purposes of this section,

“place of residence” means a building or part thereof used, or currently designed for use, as a single dwelling only, and includes outbuildings or other appurtenances incidental to any such use.

OK I know – that was very boring and I promise not to copy and paste legislation like that again! It was taken from section 66Q of the Conveyancing Act NSW if that sort of thing happens to interest you – sadly it does me. Now what does it really mean and what are the consequences?

Ultimately, when undertaking conveyancing in NSW, there are certain benefits to a purchaser of residential land that are not applicable to land not deemed to be residential. In particular, a cooling-off period applies for residential land whereas it will not apply for non-residential land unless negotiated between the parties. Whilst noting that cooling-off rights can be waived by providing a waiver certificate (otherwise known as a section 66W Certificate) executed by your lawyer, similar rights are provided for those entering into options for residential land.

Of more interest, and currently a hot topic of conversation are the rights provided to purchasers of residential property “off the plan”. Legislation has recently been passed in NSW providing for the protection of purchasers of “off the plan” residential property. But that is a topic for my next blog.

If you have any queries in respect of the above or would like to discuss any property related topics or issues, please give us a call here at ClickLaw Australia as one of our property law experts would be delighted to address any query you may have.

John Kettle

Principal Lawyer

ClickLaw Australia