Revestment of land in the Crown

Process information

Local governments impose rates on properties to raise revenue to fund the services and facilities provided to residents and visitors.

Under section 6.74 of the Local Government Act 1995, a local government may apply in the form and manner prescribed to the Minister for Local Government to have land within its district revested in the Crown if rates for that land have been unpaid for at least three years.

In addition to the land having unpaid rates the land must also be rateable land and vacant – that is, clear of any improvements other than merged improvements (as defined in the Valuation of Land Act 1978).

This document outlines the requirements for local governments applying for land to be revested in the Crown, particularly the need to liaise with the Department of Lands prior to making an application to the Minister.

This document supplements Local Government Operational Guideline: Number 22 - Possession of Land for Recovery of Rates and Service Charges.

Legislation

Local Government Act 1995

6.74 Power to have land revested in Crown if rates in arrears 3 years

  1. If land is —
    1. rateable land; and
    2. vacant land; and
    3. land in respect of which any rates or service charges have been unpaid for a period of at least 3 years, the local government in whose district the land is situated may apply in the form and manner prescribed to the Minister to have the land revested in the Crown in right of the State.
  2. The Minister is to consider the application and the circumstances surrounding the application and may grant or refuse the application.
  3. If the application is granted the Minister is to execute a transfer or conveyance of the land to the Crown and is to deliver the transfer or conveyance to the Registrar of Titles or the Registrar of Deeds and Transfers, as the case requires, for registration.Upon the delivery of the transfer or conveyance Schedule 6.3 clause 8 has effect in relation to the exercise of the power referred to in subsection (1).

Local Government (Financial Management Regulations) 1996

  1. Notification prescribed (Act s. 6.64(2))
    For the purposes of section 6.64(2) the notification to be given by a local government on taking possession of land under that section is to be in the form of Form 2.
  2. Form of notice prescribed (Act s. 6.64(2))
    For the purposes of section 6.64(2) the notice to be affixed on land by a local government on taking possession of land under that section is to be in the form of Form 3.
  1. Application under Act s. 6.74, prerequisites to making
    1. Before making an application under section 6.74 for the revestment of any land in the Crown a local government is to —(a)       give notice of its intention to do so if the rates, service charges, costs and expenses are not paid by the date specified in the notice (being a date not less than 30 days from the date of service of the notice) to —
      1. the owner or owners of the land, sent to the last known address of the owner or owners; and
      2. all persons who are noted on the certificate of title to the land as having an interest in the land whether by way of encumbrance or otherwise, sent to the last known address of those persons; and
    2. A notice of intent under subregulation (1) is to contain a statement that the person to whom the notice is issued may, within 30 days of the date of the notice, lodge an objection to the revestment.
    3. The local government is to consider all objections received to the revestment under this regulation.
  2. Form of application etc. prescribed (Act s. 6.74)
    1. For the purposes of section 6.74(1), an application by a local government to have land revested in the Crown is to be in the form of Form 6.
    2. For the purposes of section 6.74(2), the grant by the Minister of an application by a local government to have land revested in the Crown is to be in the form of Form 7.

Process for application

Step 1 – Liaison with the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage

It is a requirement of the Local Government Act 1995 that an application be submitted to the Minister for Local Government to have land on which rates have not been paid for three years, to be revested in the Crown estate. While the decision to grant or refuse an application to have land revested rests with the Minister for Local Government, the determination is made in conjunction with the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage as the State must decide whether or not the land is acceptable for revestment.

Before an application is submitted, local governments will need to consult the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage to discuss the land to be revested and possible alternate uses of that land. Local governments can do this through the Crown Land Enquiry Form on the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage website.

This consultation must occur for all land proposed to be revested in the Crown, including land that is potentially or which is actually subject to contamination or hazards.

Step 2 – Statutory requirements

There are a number of statutory requirements that must be followed before an application is submitted to revest land in the Crown. Guideline 22 outlines these requirements.

As outlined in the guideline, the local government must take possession of the land and give notice to the land owners of the intent to revest the land. This includes publishing the notice of intent in the Government Gazette.

Step 3 – Checklist for application to the Department of Local Government and Communities

Once the local government has met the statutory requirements outlined in Guideline 22, an application can be made to the Minister to revest the land in the Crown. As the Minister has delegated his powers of refusing or granting an application for revestment to the Director General of the Department of Local Government and Communities, applications are to be submitted to the department directly. This can be done by emailing legislation@dlgc.wa.gov.au although a hardcopy of Form B3 must be posted to the department.

Application document checklist

  • Documentation obtained from the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage regarding its position on revestment of the land;
  • Completed Form 6 (Regulation 78(1)) making an application to the Minister;
  • Copy of Form 2 (Regulation 72) which was sent to the registered proprietor;
  • Statutory declaration providing that Form 3 was affixed to the land (Regulation 73);
  • Copy of the Council minutes confirming that Council has resolved to seek revestment of the land and make an application;
  • Proof that attempts have been made to contact the landowners (e.g. any copies of unanswered/returned letters to the landowner, details regarding attempts made, etc.);
  • Copy of the notice of intent published in the Government Gazette;
  • Photos of the property which demonstrate that the land is vacant;
  • A copy of the Record Certificate of Title for the land;
  • A signed Landgate Form B3 Statutory Declaration confirming that the land is clean and tidy within the meaning of the Contaminated Sites Act 2003.
  • Note: The Form B3 will need to be posted to the department as the original must be provided to Landgate. A separate form is required for each property to be revested; and
  • If the registered proprietor is deceased, the date of death.

Decision making

On receipt of the above, information will be considered to determine if revesting the land is in the best interest of the Crown. The decision will take into consideration advice from the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage.

If an application to revest is approved, the department will progress the necessary documentation for revestment, including lodging the appropriate forms with the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage and Landgate.

Page reviewed 03 May 2019