Community schemes

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We administer the Community Land Development Act 1989, which permits the subdivision and development of land with shared property (known as a community scheme).

What are community schemes?

Community schemes involve subdivisions where a lot owner owns and maintains any buildings constructed on their lot, and also shares the use (and the maintenance costs) of other facilities. The schemes range from rural subdivisions that can be used for sustainable eco-developments, with shared dams and communal farmland, to large residential communities with private roads, high security and extensive recreational facilities such as swimming pools, marinas and golf courses.

The community scheme laws provide a flexible management structure and can be used to facilitate large, mixed-use schemes. This flexibility is provided through a tiered management structure based on three types of schemes. These are:

  • Community schemes – must contain two or more development lots. Development lots are usually intended to be subdivided by a subsidiary scheme, being a precinct scheme, neighbourhood scheme or strata scheme.
  • Precinct scheme – also made up of development lots intended to be further subdivided by a subsidiary scheme, being either a neighbourhood scheme or strata scheme. A precinct scheme cannot be a standalone development and will always be situated within a community scheme.
  • Neighbourhood scheme – comprises individual lots. Neighbourhood schemes generally operate in a similar way to strata schemes. A neighbourhood scheme can exist a standalone development without being a subsidiary scheme of a precinct or community scheme.

The collective ownership model is a corporation called the ‘association’ and the communally owned property is known as ‘association property’. The association is the registered proprietor of the association property and is responsible for the care and maintenance of that property.

Legislative framework

Community schemes in NSW are governed by two principal Acts, the Community Land Development Act 1989 and the Community Land Management Act 1989.

The Development Act facilitates the subdivision and development of land with shared property, setting the requirements for registration of plans, changes to the subdivision and dealing with lots. The Development Act is the responsibility of the Minister for Customer Service and administered by this office.

The Management Act provides a system for the management of community schemes and their subsidiary schemes, including management of funds and accounts, association and committee meetings, maintenance of association (common) property, insurance, the management statement (which includes by-laws) and dispute resolution.  This legislation is the responsibility of the Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation and is administered by NSW Fair Trading.

For more information about the management of community schemes, please see the NSW Fair Trading's Community and neighbourhood schemes page.

Plans and dealing forms relating to Community Schemes are lodged and registered with NSW Land Registry Services. For more information, please view the Forms and Registrar General’s Guidelines for community schemes on the NSW Land Registry Services website.