Purchasing rural property
Rural property lifestyle can be rewarding for many people. However, you need to be aware that there may be more to consider than when you are purchasing a residential property.
In New South Wales, the contract for sale frequently does not provide all the information that may be useful to the buyers. When you are purchasing a rural property, it is likely that additional searches and enquiries need to be made.
In addition to the standard searches, the following enquiries may be useful:
- Enclosure permits. If there is a Crown road running through the property, there is a possibility that an enclosure permit exists whereby the registered proprietor of the property is paying rent for enclosing the Crown road within their property.
- Noxious weeds. The list of declared noxious weeds vary depending on the location. The Noxious Weeds Act 1993 (NSW) makes the occupier of the land responsible for the control of specified weeds that are declared as noxious. The local council may issue a notice to the occupier of the land requiring the occupier of the land to carry out weed control works at the occupier’s expense. New owners of the land may also be bound by previous notices.
- Access to the property. It will be important to ensure that you have both legal and practical access to the property that you are seeking to purchase. Sometimes there may be legal (paper) roads that are no longer practical for various reasons. Alternatively, property that always seemed to have real and practical access may not have been legal access. Also, sometimes there are rights of way and it will be important to understand who is burdened and benefited by this rights of way and its terms and conditions.
- Native vegetation. It is important to be aware of any existing property vegetation plans because generally speaking, native vegetation can only be cleared in accordance with development consent or a property vegetation plan.
- Livestock diseases. It will be useful to understand whether there are any animal heath issues associated with the property. This will particularly be important if the conveyance involves stock as some livestock diseases may persist even after stock has been removed from the property.
- Water licences. Access to water can be very important when looking to purchase a rural property. It will be useful to identify if there are any approvals for any existing dams, bores and irrigation outlets.
- Searching deposited plans and neighbouring titles to ensure there is legal access to a property. This is an essential step when access to the property is not provided directly from a public road.
Vendors may not be required by law to disclose these issues in the contract. Unless potential purchasers seek to understand these issues, they may only become aware of these issues when they strike a problem at their newly purchased property. Therefore, it is important that you obtain sound legal advice when purchasing a rural property.