Property Sales and Purchases
The purchase of rural land is a major decision and the presence of weeds, and the ongoing cost of managing weeds is often not considered. This is especially the case as more people with little or no experience in rural land management are moving away from the city and making the “tree change. “
Before signing a contract, prospective purchasers should carefully consider the following:
- What are considered to be priority weeds in this area?
- Are there infestations of priority weeds on the land?
- Have weed infestations been managed in the past?
- What will be the ongoing cost of weed control?
- If the land is to be used for farming, will weed infestations result in production losses?
Privacy laws prevent Council from disclosing weed infestation information directly to prospective buyers without the land owner’s consent, however by asking these questions, purchasers can be better informed before signing on the dotted line.
Under the Biosecurity Act 2015 and the Conveyancing Regulation 2017 the vendor now has a legal obligation to disclose details of any Biosecurity Directions or Biosecurity Undertakings that exist in relation to the property.
What should I do before purchase?
Under the Conveyancing Regulation 2017, Schedule 3, Part 3, Adverse Affectations now include Individual Biosecurity Directions or Biosecurity Undertakings issued under the Biosecurity Act 2015. These are required to be disclosed by the vendor as such. To legally make this disclosure, a copy of the Individual Biosecurity Direction or Biosecurity Undertaking may be included in the contract of sale or these documents passed on to the prospective purchaser.
Part 3 Adverse affectations
27. An individual biosecurity direction (within the meaning of the Biosecurity Act 2015) that:
(a) prohibits, regulates or controls the doing of anything, or
(b) requires something to be done.
28 A biosecurity undertaking (within the meaning of the Biosecurity Act 2015).
Your Solicitor or Conveyancer should request a certificate entitled "Disclosure of Biosecurity Directions and Undertakings" as well as a Section 10.7 (5) Certificate from Snowy Monaro Regional Council.
A Section 10.7(5) Certificate is issued under the EP & A Act and can provide, amongst other things, broader information on weed matters specific to a property or to the locality within which a property is situated.
With the owner’s permission you can arrange for someone who knows about weeds to inspect the property with you. If weeds are found, a weed spraying contractor can provide an estimate of how much weed control work will cost and what ongoing weed management work will be required in the future. Council does not provide information on such costs; however, there are a number of weed spraying contractors in the area which can be found in the yellow pages or via an online search.
The small cost of an independent inspection and obtaining a Section 10.7(5) certificate will assist you in making an informed decision regarding the purchase of rural land.
For more information on how to identify and control weeds contact the Biosecurity staff at Snowy Monaro Regional Council.