Understanding Section 173 Agreements with Pearson Chambers

Professional discussing Section 173 Agreement with clients at Pearson Chambers office.

Owning a home often embodies a sense of security; however, it doesn't grant carte blanche over the property's usage. In Victoria, the Planning and Environment Act 1987, particularly section 173, permits a local council and a landowner to forge an agreement dictating the land usage. These agreements, commonly referred to as section 173 agreements, might bar the land from subdivision, staged developments, or mandate the preservation of certain land characteristics.

A distinguishing feature of a section 173 agreement is its registrability on the land title, unlike ordinary contracts. This provision establishes distinct obligations and rights concerning the land, aiding local councils in land usage planning without being tethered to legislative or regulatory frameworks.

Who is Eligible for a Section 173 Agreement?

Typically, section 173 agreements are brokered between a local council and a landowner. For instance, a prospective property developer in Box Hill may need to enter such an agreement with the City of Whitehorse. Similarly, land subdivision in Portsea would necessitate an agreement with the Mornington Peninsula Shire.

Interestingly, a council can also engage in a section 173 agreement with a future landowner, aiding in preemptive planning. However, such foresighted agreements don't hamper the current landowners' rights.

Beyond the council and landowner (or future owner), additional parties like planning authorities, developers, or land occupants can be incorporated into the agreement, broadening the spectrum of engagement.

What Restrictions Are Encapsulated in a Section 173 Agreement?

A section 173 agreement empowers a Council to delineate the framework within which a sub-divider operates. Common stipulations in these agreements encompass:

  • Coordinating land development endeavors with neighboring landowners or relevant authorities.
  • Staging development on the land.
  • Mandates for property or environmental reparations.
  • Preserving the heritage of structures or vegetation on the property.
  • Infrastructural development stipulations like creating parklands.
  • Securing developer contributions.
  • Usage restrictions on the land, possibly barring the owner from altering the land usage.
  • Future development constraints on the land.
  • Engaging in planning trade-offs between different land parcels.

Intricacies of a Section 173 Agreement

A section 173 agreement can significantly influence land use and development by imposing restrictions or requirements on the landowner. It can also necessitate the owner to furnish a bond or guarantee, advancing Victoria's planning objectives.

However, these agreements can't override a planning scheme or permit nor compel the council to exercise discretion beyond the Planning and Environment Act 1987’s purview.

Seeking legal counsel for drafting a section 173 agreement is prudent. While some councils offer in-house legal services, Pearson Chambers also extends its expertise in crafting such agreements.

Implications of Registering the Agreement

For a section 173 agreement to be registered on the land title, the council must approach the Registrar of Titles. Any mortgager over the land must concur with the registration. Once registered, the agreement becomes visible to potential purchasers, binding them and any other land occupant to its terms.

Subdividing Land Under a Section 173 Agreement

Post subdivision, the agreement remains binding on any purchaser of the subdivided land, maintaining the initial terms of the agreement.

Beneficiaries of a Section 173 Agreement

Both prospective land buyers and councils benefit from section 173 agreements. While they furnish future planning insights for councils, they also apprise potential buyers of any extant restrictions on the land.

Entering, Amending, or Terminating a Section 173 Agreement

Engaging in a section 173 agreement is akin to other contracts; negotiation and consensus are vital. Sometimes, planning schemes or permits might necessitate such agreements, mandating their completion pre-development.

Amending or terminating a section 173 agreement hinges on the consensus of all parties or a successful application to VCAT, contingent on council support and public advertising of the amendment.

Section 173 agreements might appear convoluted, yet they afford a clarity layer over your property's permissible uses. Ensuring they align with your development goals necessitates proficient advice before engagement.

Section 173 Agreement Reviews at Pearson Chambers

Pearson Chambers extends its expertise to clients in reviewing section 173 agreements, facilitating section 173 agreement removals, and other restrictive covenant-related services, ensuring a well-informed and legally compliant property development journey.



Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and may not cater to your specific circumstances. It should not be utilized as a basis for legal, tax, or accounting advice. The legal advice provided may vary based on individual situations. The expressed viewpoints within this article are strictly those of the author and may not represent or align with those of Pearson Chambers. All content is protected under copyright, owned by Pearson Chambers Pty Ltd