Heritage listing: a positive for owners
Have you noticed headings like these in the property advertisements lately? 'Full of character', 'Loads of charm'. Chances are, these headlines are referring to an historic house, an elderly terrace or a charming cottage. They may even refer to a heritage-listed property. Heritage listing can have a positive impact on property values, and real estate advertisements are starting to reflect this.
The main reason why people purchase heritage buildings is because they like the character and charm. They may have wonderful settings, well established garden or pose the challenge of a sensitive renovation, which so many people relish.
Owning a heritage-listed property brings other advantages:
- Heritage listing provides certainty for owners, neighbours and intending purchasers. This is important when people are looking for a particular place to live and work, and helps explain why certain suburbs, towns, villages and rural properties are sought after.
- Protection of an item also requires the local council to consider the effect of any proposed development in the area surrounding heritage items or conservation areas. This is positive as it ensures an appropriate context for heritage items.
- It confirms a heritage status that is a source of pride for many people. This status can be very useful for commercial operators in their advertising.
- The assessment process leading to listing often unearths new information on the history and style of the item.
- Listing gives owners access to the free heritage advisory services provided by many councils.
- Listing enables eligibility to apply for grants through Heritage NSW and local councils.
- Certain concessions may apply to locally listed heritage items. Owners should contact their local council to discuss.
Photograph by Paramount Studios
Photograph by Paramount Studios
Debunking the myths about heritage listing
It can be easy to point the finger at heritage listing when problems arise, but the benefits can far outweigh any perceived negatives.
- Listing places no legal restriction on the sale or leasing of properties.
- Heritage buildings are best cared for when they are lived in and loved. This means they must be useable. Houses may need new bathrooms and kitchens; commercial buildings may need new services and fire protection.
- Listing does not exclude changes or additions or new buildings on the site provided that these do not detract from the heritage significance of the listed items. This is consistent with what most owners want for their heritage properties. It is also consistent with advice from real estate agents that well looked after heritage properties are the easiest to sell and bring the highest prices.
- Listing does not exclude the adaptive reuse of a heritage item for another use. Sometimes this is a sensible way of ensuring the use of a heritage item. For example, the conversion of a warehouse to residential use or the adaptation of a house to offices.
- Other than normal maintenance it is not expected that owners take any special care of a heritage property. Only in situations where an owner is deliberately allowing a property to deteriorate would prosecution action be pursued.
- Maintenance of heritage items and gardens does not require formal approval.
- Some owners open their heritage properties to the public on a regular or occasional basis and usually on an entry fee basis either for themselves or charity. However, as with all private property, heritage listing does not allow the general public the right to visit your property without your express permission.