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Basics of Purchasing Property in Tasmania

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It is important to come to grips and maybe even note the goals you are trying to achieve when looking at purchasing property in Tasmania. Whether your purchase is for development purposes, recreation or retirement, the following process is our opinion of the best course of action.

For an explanation of terms used in this opinion see our glossary or contact us for further assistance.


It is essential to start the process with obtaining a current copy of the title (purchase here) to the land and if applicable a copy of the schedule of easements that may form part of the title. Further, you should determine from the title whether a Part V Agreement is attached to the title.

You should then study all pages of the title and come to terms with all aspects of the document including benefiting and burdening easements, any caveats, covenants and rights that might apply. You should view the title and look for terms such a “sketch by way of illustration only”, “reserved road”, “not including reserved road”, “rights of way”, “drainage easement”, “absorption easement” and the like. Again for an explanation of all of these terms see our glossary or contact us for advice or a full report on your title.

When you are armed with a thorough knowledge of the title the next port of call is the local council (or maybe known as a shire to you?).


You should always visit the local council to come to grips with planning, servicing and similar matters. Armed with your title, approach the planning counter at the local council. Ask for assistance in relation to planning matters. Take notes, dates and names of Council officers.

Firstly determine the current zoning of the land and obtain a copy of the ordnance relating to such zone. Determine how well this zone reflects your stated goals for buying the property. There is now a State wide Planning Scheme covering all Councils within Tasmania. Some sections are quite complex and the skills of a Registered Town Planner are required to determine what can and cannot be done within certain zones. Ensure that you understand what restrictions this may place on your land and how it is used. Be aware of those uses that are at council’s discretion. Be aware that a Council exercising one’s discretion is not only relying on planning principles but the personality of the planning officer. Be aware that there are 3rd party rights of appeal that allow anyone to have input into planning applications. Also be aware that any application in a Bush Fire prone area will need a BAL Report (Building Attack Level-BAL-relating to Fire Risk). Contact us for advice in relation to these matters. 

Ensure that you check zoning, future zoning and the possible use of the land adjoining your land. Determine if the zoning is different to your own- what uses the adjoining land can be put to and whether its subsequent sale and/or development will intrude upon your stated goals.

Further, ask the question “are there any new changes to the planning scheme in the course of preparation”? if there are changes muted determine what stage the change is at and what status (ie what regard council are having to it) that change has within council. 

Ask the question “are there any setbacks around any quarries, poultry sheds, piggeries or the like that might affect the enjoyment of the land. What are the setbacks from roads, boundaries, industry and the like. Contact us for advice in relation to these matters.

Next, ask the question “is there any other issue that council may be aware of that may restrict the enjoyment of your purchase in the manner that you intend”?

Next proceed to the engineering counter and advise the officer that you are intending to purchase this property and ask of current services to the area including availability of reticulated water, sewerage and stormwater disposal. If services are available determine the locality of such services. A location may be sewered but the closest connection point may be some distance away, resulting in expensive connection costs. Is the land flood or landslip prone? If the property has older improvements be aware of asbestos issues. Determine any requirements that Council may be aware of in relation to The Water Arthority, a new body that now controls water and sewerage (note: not on site disposal but piped sewerage disposal) within the state.

If some of these services are not reticulated determine the method of delivery or disposal. For example if reticulated sewerage (TasWater responsibility)  is not available determine what method of sewerage disposal is availabe and whether it is Council's responsibility. If reticulated water is not available determine the availability of trucked water, possible rainfall for tank water and if possible the likelihood of underground water. Contact us for advice in relation to these matters.

Determine the status of the public road access to your property. Be aware that some areas (especially rural) only have frontage by means of reserved roads and not public roads. Ask the question of council “do they or do they not maintain the road that gives you access to the property”. Ask the question “are there any plans or thoughts in relation to by-pass roads, road widening or road alignment changes that may affect the enjoyment of your property". Ask the question concerning access onto the public road. Are site distances sufficient to allow the use you intend or the development you may be considering (existing lots and site distances should not fall under the control of Council unless they are onerous).

Visit the Health Counter within council and confirm engineering advice or otherwise concerning effluent disposal. Effluent must be disposed of within the boundaries of your title unless a reticulated system (piped) is available.


A new player. If you are in an area of reticulated water or effluent disposal visit the local Water Authority to determine their future plans, needs and possible levies that may be applicable in the future.


All the above mentioned matters we can advise on and direct you to the correct Consultant to assist you. We are able to assist you obtain this information. Consultant fees will be applicable.