1 October 2019

What you can and can’t do with a NSW heritage-listed property

Adrian Atelj
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Do you own a heritage-listed property? Or are you thinking of buying one? The upside is owning a piece of history and paying lower council rates, the downside is restrictions on renovating. Here’s how things work in NSW.

Is your home heritage-listed?

Owners of heritage homes in NSW have to abide by certain rules to ensure their property retains its historical value. The most important rules relate to renovating.

According to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment website, you can make additions or undertake changes as long as they are “compatible with, or complement, the heritage place”.

Minor work often does not require formal approval, however you need to check first. Major work usually requires a Section 60 application. Go to the Permits and Applications page for more information.

Generally, you don’t need approval to make like-for-like repairs or carry out typical maintenance of the interiors and exteriors of the building.

A nice little bonus for owners of heritage-listed homes is you will generally pay lower council rates and land tax. This is because the property will be valued by the Valuer General based on the existing use of the land rather than its zoned development potential.

Are you selling or investing in a heritage-listed property?

There are no restrictions on selling or leasing a property on the State Heritage Register.

Are you buying a heritage-listed property?

With a wealth of heritage-listed houses and buildings dotted throughout its suburbs, Sydney is a city of rich cultural significance.

“Period homes are a favourite among Sydney buyers and their emotional appeal often has a big impact on selling prices,” said homes.com.au Founder & Managing Director, Pat Carbone.

It is not always stated in property advertisements that a home for sale is heritage-listed. If you’re looking at buying a period home, always check whether it is heritage-listed first.

You can easily check via the State Heritage Inventory. There is an online search tool where you can type in the address of the property you’re looking at buying. If the property is listed, there will be a description of the property’s features and the reasons it is listed.

Buying a heritage-listed property is not a bad thing! Many agents would argue that it raises the value of properties, as buyers often love to have a story behind their new home.

However, don’t buy uninformed. Do your research and talk to a specialist heritage consultant if you need advice on specific renovating restrictions. There is a Heritage Consultants Directory on the website, which includes architects, builders and structural engineers.

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