New changes to community land laws

The Community Land Development Act 2021 (NSW) (Development Act) and Community Land Management Act 2021 (NSW) (Management Act) reforms have commenced on 1 December 2021. The new laws are aimed to modernise the development, management and operation of community schemes in NSW.

See below brief introduction on community schemes and summary on the key legislative changes for further details.

Community schemes – what are they?

Community schemes are created on subdivision of land by community plans. A Community scheme may consist of:

  • a sole Neighbourhood scheme or
  • a Community scheme that may be further subdivided into:
    • Neighbourhood schemes
    • Precinct schemes and/or
    • Strata schemes.

Community plans divide land into a community property lot and two or more community lots. Some lots may be development lots to enable future development of those lots.

Community plans are hybrids of conventional methods of subdivision and strata subdivision which enable the creation of shared property on the subdivided land for common use by members of the community scheme (unless an exclusive use right is allocated by the developer or granted by the community association).

Unlike strata lots in strata schemes which are building units or apartments which are limited by reference to the physical boundaries of the strata lot, community lots in community schemes are parcels of land with their own title, defined by surveyed land measurements rather than physical structural measurement.

Community plans can be further subdivided to create precinct schemes and neighbourhood schemes. Precinct schemes are created on subdivision of a lot or lots in a community plan and are used to create a second tier in the development, and neighbourhood schemes are created on subdivision of lots in a community plan, a precinct plan or lots in conventional subdivisions. Strata schemes may also be created within a community scheme.

Community schemes are commonly adopted by projects ranging in various sizes – from small groups of houses clustered around common open space to large communities with shared roadways and facilities based on commercial, sporting or agricultural features to major resort developments and mixed use developments comprising various neighbourhood, precinct and strata arrangements..

The key changes in summary

The key changes are summarised below:


What do these changes mean to you?

Existing management statements and by-laws should be reviewed in light of these legislative changes as inconsistencies may cause those parts of the instruments to be unlikely to be enforceable. If an amendment is required, you should do so as soon as possible within six months under sections 131 and/or 135 of the Management Act.

Developers should also be aware of the new changes to ensure compliance when developing their new projects in particular to provide an accurate estimate on levies.

If you would like to discuss this article or its implications for your project or development, please contact our Property and Real Estate Projects Partner, Mike Ellis or Senior Associate, Yanlie Leung.

The contents of this publication do not constitute legal advice and are for general information purposes only. You should seek legal advice regarding your particular circumstances.