For those affected home owners whom have already elected to participate in the Territory’s Buyback Program; the realities of relocation are shedding light on new and very practical concerns.
In recent weeks we have had a number of client enquiries regarding the removal of plants and garden matter from land upon which a Mr Fluffy Home is erected.
When talking about the removal of plants from your garden, it is important to distinguish between those which are ‘fixtures’ and those which are ‘chattels’.
In law, a fixture is something so attached to the land that it must have been intended to remain there permanently. This will include any in-ground garden plants.
If an item is not a fixture it is called a ‘chattel’, and in the context of the garden, this can include; plants in pots, free-standing water features and so on.
Ordinarily when you sell your property, fixtures must remain with the property unless they have been expressly excluded from the sale or were removed prior to an exchange of contracts.
In the context of the Buyback Program, a fixture must remain with the property if it was present at the time of the first valuation. There are however some exceptions, and the Asbestos Response Taskforce has recently provided guidance as to those items which may be removed from the property prior to surrender of the lease.
Items must not be removed if they could:-
- Increase the risk of asbestos fibres being released;
- Affect the structural integrity of the property; or
- Affect the physical security or safety of the property.
So how does this impact your garden and what you may (or may not) remove?
The following general rules in relation to garden items apply:-
- Statutes may be removed;
- Plants may be removed;
- Garden sheds may be removed in some cases;
- Paving may be removed in some cases;
- Ponds, water tanks and irrigation systems may be removed;
Provided the removal does not pose a safety risk.
For example if you are removing in-ground plants from the garden, be sure to fill any holes which are created as a result of the removal.
If you are an affected Mr Fluffy Home owner and would like to know more about the items you may remove from your garden prior to surrender, please contact either Brian Tetlow or Emma Bragg of Tetlow Legal on (02) 6140 3263 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com