Changes to Dual Occupancies


In recent times the Australian Capital Territory has seen three key changes relating to Dual Occupancies, which some predict will bring good news for Canberra’s property development market.

On 15 May 2014 the ACT Government passed the Planning, Building and Environment Legislation Amendment Act 2014, which came into effect on 26 May 2014. Section 28 of this Act removed the section of the Unit Titles Act 2001 that required a Unit Plan to have a minimum of three units, or two units if one unit was superimposed over part of another.

This means that properties in suitable zones (such as RZ2 ‘core areas’) can now have dual occupancies by way of a Unit Plan. Prior to this, builders and developers were required to undertake a formal subdivision, wrangle a superimposition of one unit over part of another, or source a very large block (or buy two adjacent blocks) and build more units.

On 6 March 2014 the ACT Government announced a construction stimulus package. One of the features of the package is the freezing of lease variation charges for two years, allowing prospective builders and developers time to acquire a single residential block in a suitable zone, put together a development application, and pay the lease variation charge without the lease variation charge increasing on a yearly basis (previously due to increase on 1 July 2014 and 1 July 2015).

On 28 February 2013 the highly controversial DV306 came in, reducing the minimum size for a single residential block in a RZ2 ‘core area’ to be unit titled from 800 square metres to 700 square metres.

The combination of the above three recent changes means that the market for potential dual occupancy blocks of land may increase, and the reduction in minimum size will mean more blocks within suitable zones could be ripe for development.

For more information on dual occupancies, the construction stimulus package, lease variation charges, or anything related, please call: 02 6181 2900.