Before you buy a property or start a construction project in NSW, one of the most important legal documents you need to look at is the 10.7 planning certificate. This contains all the details on the zoning, development, and planning controls and restrictions that apply to the property.
In this blog, we’ll share why a 10.7 planning certificate is important, what kind of information it contains, and how to obtain one. We’ll also share some background information on planning approvals.
What is a 10.7 planning certificate?
A Section 10.7 planning certificate of the NSW Environment Planning and Assessment Act 1979 is a legal document that contains the planning and zoning regulations applicable to the property.
Note that acquiring a 10.7 certificate does not equate to development approval (DA). But, the documentation required for council approval will depend on what’s written on the 10.7 certificate.
For example, if the 10.7 planning certificate indicates that your property is under an erosion management overlay (EMO), you will likely need to submit a geotechnical assessment of the proposed development so you can get development approval.
Who issues 10.7 certificates?
Types of 10.7 certificates
There are two types of 10.7 certificates, namely:
Section 10.7(2) planning certificate
This contains information about the zoning, state, and planning controls that affect your property. These include:
- A list of state, regional, and local planning policies applicable to the property
- A list of allowable and prohibited activities based on the zoning restrictions
- Information about conservation or environmental heritage areas on the property
- A list of development standards affecting the construction of a house
- Information on whether the land may be affected by road widening projects or may be acquired by the government in the future
- Information on whether the land is prone to flooding or bushfires
- Information on whether the land is contaminated with harmful substances, such as sewage sludge or industrial waste
- Any orders or notices issued under the Trees Act 2006
- Heritage Act listing or Interim Heritage Order
- National Trust listing
Section 10.7(2&5) planning certificate
This provides all the information required by law regarding relevant matters affecting the land. It contains all the information you can find in a 10.7 (2) certificate, plus additional background information on the property, such as:
- Whether or not the buildings or structures have been approved for construction on the land for the past couple of years
- Whether or not the local council can consider a development application for the construction of a dwelling-house on the property
- Advice from other authorities
- Potential for loose-fill asbestos
- Proposed easements
- Outstanding notices/orders
- Rezoning applications
- Building line variations
- Natural watercourse
- Earthquake risk information
When do you need a 10.7 planning certificate?
Here are some of the situations you will need a 10.7 planning certificate:
When you are planning a new build or renovation project
As a property owner or manager, you can refer to the 10.7 certificate to see if your future home improvement plans are aligned with the zoning, development, and planning restrictions that apply to the land. You can pass on a copy of the 10.7 certificate to your building designer so that they can know what kind of structures you may or may not build on your site.
Moreover, checking your 10.7 certificate can help you determine whether you need to lodge a development application (DA) or request a Complying Development Certificate (CDC). Getting a DA is a more tedious process, so it’s important to check if you can simply get a CDC instead.
When you are planning a demolition
All demolition applications require a current copy of the Section 10.7 certificate, together with a plan showing all existing structures on the site.
In some cases, demolition work can be approved as Complying Development if it complies with NSW Exempt & Complying Development Codes 2008. The 10.7 certificate should also clearly state that demolition can be approved under Complying Development.
When you buy or sell a property
- Land title
- Street address
When your planning certificate is more than six months old
Make sure that your planning certificate is updated since council planning controls change regularly. If your certificate is more than six months old and you are planning a renovation in the coming weeks, it’s safer to acquire a new one.
Additionally, if you are selling a property and attaching an old 10.7 certificate, you may face some legal repercussions.
How to apply for a 10.7 certificate online
You may visit your local council in person to lodge an application or you can send one through the NSW planning portal. A conveyancing solicitor can also lodge the application on your behalf.
Here are the general steps for acquiring a 10.7 certificate:
Step 1: Prepare necessary information
Obtain the legal description of the property you need the certificate for. This includes:
- Matter reference
- Title reference
- Lot and DP/SP number of the land
- Area size
- Purchase price
Step 2: Submit an application
Step 3: Payment
Pay the application fee using a valid credit card. Local councils have varying fees, so check their website for more information. Note that requesting a Section 10.7 (2&5) certificate usually costs more than requesting a Section 10.7 (2) certificate.
Step 4: Assessment and issuance
The application will be assessed by the local council staff. In most cases, you will receive the certificate within 10 working days after receiving your application. Urgent requests for the certificate may be issued within a minimum of two business days.
How to interpret your 10.7 planning certificate
A 10.7 planning certificate is an extensive document that contains plenty of information regarding the restrictions placed on owners regarding land use. Here are notes on how to interpret some of the most crucial sections of this certificate:
State environmental planning policies
This section includes all the environmental planning policies that affect the land. It also indicates all the environmental policies that affected the community in the past. These restrictions will show you what you may or may not build on the property.
Zoning and land use
This shows which zone your property belongs to. It also shows you whether you’re located in a conservation area or if an item of environmental heritage is located on the property.
Based on these details, you can learn what types of special activities you can carry out in your area. You can also learn what type of facilities you are not allowed to build (e.g., funeral homes, offices, or churches).
This section indicates if your land is affected by the following:
- Housing codes
- Rural housing codes
- Housing alteration codes
- General development codes
- Commercial and industrial codes (for new builds, alterations, and additions)
- Subdivision codes
- Demolition codes
- Fire safety codes
- Container recycling codes
If your property is not affected by these restrictions, you may be able to request a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) instead of going through the entire DA process.
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This section shows what fees you must pay periodically for owning the property. These may include council fees and coastal protection fees.
Environmental hazards or constraints
This section indicates if the land is affected by the following policies:
- Mine subsidence
- Road widening and realignment
- Hazard risk restrictions (landslip, bushfire, tidal inundation, acid sulphate soils)
- Flood controls
- Biobanking agreements
- Native vegetation clearing set-asides
- Site compatibility for senior housing
- Site compatibility for infrastructure or schools
- Site compatibility for rental housing
- Site verification certificate
- Loose-fill asbestos insulation
Frequently asked questions
What is the difference between a 10.7 (2) and a 10.7 (2&5) planning certificate?
A 10.7 (2) certificate provides information about the zoning of the property as well as relevant state and local planning controls. Meanwhile, a 10.7 (2&5) certificate provides additional advice from other authorities affecting the land.
While both certificates offer plenty of information about the land, you should always attach a Section 10.7 (2&5) Certificate to the Contract for Sale when selling your property.
What’s the difference between a Section 149 and Section 10.7 planning certificate?
A Section 10.7 certificate was previously known as the Section 149 certificate. This naming convention changed on March 1, 2018, after the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 was amended.
Does the planning certificate include all the information I need about my property?
The local council is only responsible for including information that’s required under relevant legislation. You may enlist the help of other professionals, such as land surveyors, if you need more information about the property.
What is a Development Application (DA)?
A DA is an assessment conducted directly through your local council. This covers small residential development that requires development consent, such as:
- Alterations and additions
- New houses
- Secondary dwellings
- Dual occupancies
What is a Complying Development Approval?
Complying development projects are those that may be approved via a fast approval pathway. For these types of projects, you will need to apply for a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) either to your local council or a private certifier. The process for this is generally faster compared to getting a Development Approval (DA).
Getting a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) is best for minor developments prescribed in your local council’s complying development policy or the NSW State Environmental Planning Policy 2008. Some of these include building the following:
- Swimming pools
- New homes that meet design and building site requirements
Start your home renovation project with Superdraft
A 10.7 planning certificate is a legal document that contains all applicable zoning, planning, and development restrictions that apply to a parcel of land. You can check it to see which types of development you can legally carry out on the property.
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