Retaining wall encroachment

It is not permitted to construct retaining walls and/or letter boxes over the front boundary of a unit titled development.

Unfortunately, encroachments over the front block boundary are becoming more common and an increasing problem.

Where developments are to be unit titled in accordance with the Unit Titles Act 2001 (the Act), only two types of encroachments are permitted:

  1. Attachments in relation to a building, meaning eaves, gutters, downpipes or awnings.
  2. Authorised existing attachments in relation to a unit title application, meaning if the application includes the cancellation of a units plan (the old plan) that was registered before 1 January 2002, the old plan shows the attachment or in any other case, the attachment was lawful when it was constructed.

Attachments under point 1 above must be approved by the Planning and Land Authority and identified on the approved plans as encroachments.

Under the Act, the Planning and Land Authority is unable to permit any other type of encroachment over the block boundary.

Where a structure such as a retaining wall, brick pillars and/or letterboxes have been constructed over the block boundary (except where built by the Territory), it will be the lessee’s responsibility to remove such encroachments prior to the application for unit title being finalised.

It is recommended that a registered surveyor be engaged before any structure is built near a boundary fronting unleased Territory land. Such a survey is normally straightforward and not too expensive, particularly compared to the cost of re-locating the feature and the resultant delay to final approval of the unit title application.

A list of registered land surveyors can be found on the Access Canberra website or refer to the Yellow Pages.