Do you own the strip of land between the front of your property and the road? What are your obligations?
Control of this strip of land is with the local council which, under the Local Government Act 1995, provides the council is to care for, control and manage public land. Put another way, this land is “crown land” under the control of your local government.
Notwithstanding the fact that the council has the care and control of the footpath area it is really up to the homeowner to look after the “crown land” strip. Councils usually install a 1.5m footpath adjacent to the curb but the rest of “the nature strip”, can be a carefully kept lawn or a jungle, according to the attitude of the owner of the adjoining property.
Most local councils have lists of permissible “nature strip treatments” which may include planting gardens but most local councils have laws preventing you from putting up “structures” without council permission. Structures are generally considered to include built up box gardens, swings and treehouses. One reasons why the local council may be reluctant to allow you to build swings and similar things on your nature strip is that the local council may be potentially liable for any injuries sustained by people using or accessing those structures. There will also be “line of sight” considerations for motorists using the road or vehicles existing the adjacent properties.
Under the Local Government Act 1995the responsibility to construct and maintain a cross-over from the homeowner’s land to the curb and to maintain the cross-over in a safe condition rests with the property owner.
In relation to crossovers, there are penalties for property owners who construct a driveway without council approval. Potentially they can be fined up to $5,000. The local council also has the power to require property owners to repair the driveway and to remove a driveway that is no longer being used. However, a property owner would not be prosecuted for a driveway constructed by the previous owner without approval. The local council does not have the power to force a property owner to remove and redo a driveway that was constructed by a previous owner and which does not comply with the local council’s driveway rules.
Parking on or across a driveway (unless you are dropping off or picking up and don’t leave the vehicle, then you get two minutes) is not permitted. This applies even if the driveway you are parking on or across is your own. Road Rules 2014 – Reg 195 states that “A driver must not stop on or across a driveway or other way of access for vehicles travelling to or from adjacent land unless the driver is dropping off or picking up passengers and does not leave the vehicle unattended and completes the dropping off or picking up of the passengers and drives on, as soon as possible and, in any case, within two minutes after stopping. A driver is deemed to have stopped on or across a driveway or access way if any part of the vehicle is on or across the driveway or access way.” This means if you are parked in your own driveway and any part of your vehicle encroaches past the front boundary of your own land then you are breaching this regulation and can be fined by the local council.
You are not permitted to park on footpaths or nature strips.
If you have any problems or queries about property or neighbourhood issues, please contact us on 9543 1444.