The Land, Water and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2013 (Qld) (the "Act") commenced on 14 May 2013 amending several pieces of Queensland Legislation including the Land Title Act 1994 (Qld) (the "LTA"). These amendments were developed as part of the Queensland Government's renewed commitment to reduce red tape on business and the community.

A new Part 6, Division 4AA was inserted into the LTA which provides for the recording and registration of statutory easements over small 'terrace type' housing lots of no more than 300m2 and containing buildings with shared common walls.

These new statutory easements are to be called 'High-Density Development Easements'.

The Law prior to Amendment

Prior to the commencement of the Act 'terrace type' housing lots were created as standard format lot subdivisions. The LTA statutory easement provisions for the community titles schemes did not apply and such developments required the utilisation of multiple two party easements, for support, services and projections, party walls and minor encroachments which were then surveyed and registered on the title of the developed lots.

The Law after the Amendment

The Act provides for the registration of statutory easements over small housing lots which contain buildings with shared common walls.

Under the new provisions, developers will only be required to register a simple document on the title of the lots to have the benefit of the statutory easement. It will no longer be necessary to carry out an easement survey or create a community titles scheme.

The Explanatory Notes for the Act suggest these amendments will reduce the cost and complexity related to registering such easements and will decrease subsequent conveyance costs for prospective purchasers by eliminating the need to obtain copies of registered easements and to seek legal advice as to the effect of each easement.

Easements that will be affected by the Act

To qualify as a High-Density Development Easement, the easement:

  • must be created for one or more purposes being support, shelter, projections, maintenance or roof water drainage;
  • may be created over adjoining lots, each with an area of 300m2 or less; and
  • may be created if the wall of a building is a shared wall.

High-Density Development Easements will only benefit or burden each relevant housing lot to the extent necessary to give effect to the purposes for which the easement is created.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.