Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about the City of Perth Heritage Program.

General

Q1 : I live in a heritage property but don’t know if it’s listed in the City Planning Scheme. How can I find out?

The register of heritage places attached to the City Planning Scheme can be viewed here.

Q2 : I’ve checked the City Planning Scheme and my property isn’t on it, but I know it’s listed elsewhere. Why is it not on your list, and can I still get heritage incentives?

There are a number of organisations looking at heritage properties within the City of Perth. Each has different criteria for listing and categorising heritage values, so a heritage place will not necessarily appear on all lists. If your property is listed on any heritage register, or if you consider it to have heritage significance, it is possible to have it assessed for voluntary entry onto the register of heritage places attached to the City Planning Scheme. This makes it eligible for a range of incentives. Contact the City of Perth on 9461 3333.

Q3 : What rights will the Heritage Council have if my property is listed, and don’t they normally prevent redevelopment?

The Heritage Council are responsible for maintaining the State Register of Heritage Places and all development applications relating to such sites have to be referred to them. The City is obliged to act on the Heritage Council’s recommendations in responding to the application.

Many of the places on the City Planning Scheme are not, however, on the State Register so are not referred to the Heritage Council.

If your property is on the State Register, then there is still the potential for development. Far more attention will be paid to the retention of the historically important parts of your site, but there is often room to develop around them. For more information on the Heritage Council, visit www.heritage.wa.gov.au

Q4 : What is a conservation plan, and why do I need one?

A conservation plan is a very useful management guide for your property. It includes research on your building’s history, an assessment of what makes it special and guidance on the current condition of the place. It identifies any urgent works or long-term maintenance requirements and is useful in informing of potential development options. A conservation plan should be developed for every listed building, for better understanding of the history and significance of the building and for planning maintenance and repair works. A conservation plan is also a requirement for many funding schemes, including grants from the Heritage Council.

Q5 : How do I go about getting a conservation plan, and what will it cost?

Developing a conservation plan is a task for a heritage professional, and is often undertaken by a team. The Heritage Council has a Directory of Consultants, which can be found here.

The consultant should follow the Heritage Council's Standard Brief for Conservation Plans, which can be viewed here.

The cost of a conservation plan will depend on the size and complexity of your site. They can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands for a more complex site. The City of Perth Heritage Grants scheme can often help with funding for conservation plans. Details can be found in the Heritage Grants section of the Heritage Program page.

Q6 : I’ve heard that places need a heritage agreement before they can claim grants. What does this involve?

A heritage agreement is a voluntary arrangement between a property owner and an agency such as the City of Perth or the Heritage Council. It sets out the commitments and the responsibilities of the owner and the incentives that they will receive in return. As a legal document it is a binding contract between the two parties.

Heritage agreements are generally only required for major heritage incentives such as transfer of plot ratio.

The Heritage Council's publication, 'Heritage Agreements' contains further information and can be found at http://www.heritage.wa.gov.au/conservation-and-development

Q7 : Where can I find somebody to carry out heritage building work?

The Heritage Council maintains a list of professionals working in the heritage field, so you’ll find a number of firms and individuals able to help. Their database lists builders and other skilled workers who have experience in heritage conservation and have been ratified by the Heritage Council. The Directory of Consultants can be found http://www.heritage.wa.gov.au/conservation-and-development

Development-based Incentives

Q1 : I like my building the way it is but don’t want to lose out on the benefits that redevelopment could bring. Any suggestions?

Every site has a development potential, or plot ratio, allocated to it in the city planning scheme. For heritage listed places there is the option to use this potential on a different site, adding it to the floor area of another development. This transfer of plot ratio can either be used yourself in a development in which you are involved, or sold through a ‘bank’ in a commercial transaction.

By transferring the plot ratio of your heritage site you are able to benefit from its development potential, but at the same time retain the building for future generations to enjoy.

Q2 : Can you explain more about Plot Ratio?

Plot ratio is a town planning tool that determines the density to which development is allowed in an area. At a basic level, the value of the plot ratio is the total developed floor area of a building as a proportion of the site’s undeveloped plot area.

As may be expected, however, the details are more complex, as there are a number of uses which exclude parts of the developed floor area from the plot ratio calculation. For land that is not zoned as exclusively residential, the current exclusions are:

  • toilets and bathrooms
  • lift shafts
  • stairs and stair landings
  • plant rooms
  • lobbies
  • communal facilities for on-site residents
  • residential storerooms
  • staff areas and changerooms
  • car parks for tenants and residents
  • open balconies and terraces

Full details should be sought from the current City Planning Scheme.

Economic Impact of Heritage Listing

Q1 : I want to get the incentives, but won’t having my building listed mean that I won’t be able to develop and potentially reduce the value of my property?

Let’s deal with these issues separately. Having a property listed on the City Planning Scheme means that the Council has to take into account the heritage values of the property when considering any future planning application. This is just one of many issues that are addressed and won’t in any way rule out development. There are a number of places where development has taken place around or above a listed building (look at BankWest Tower or Raine Square) or demolition has been authorised to allow new development. A heritage listing can actually increase the development options, as you can qualify for bonus plot ratio (see the brochure on development incentives).

The value of property in a buoyant property market is usually established by the value of the land. It is therefore often assumed that a heritage listing will suppress property value by limiting the development potential of the site. As explained above, however, this is not the case, so a heritage place can actually increase the potential of a site. In addition, significant heritage buildings are often viewed as prestige sites by tenants, leaseholders and future owners. This makes them hot property and it has been demonstrated that real values are far more stable and increase more in the long term.

Heritage Grants

Q1 : I recently got a grant from the City of Perth and we have completed the project. How do I claim my grant money?

Complete the claim form and return it with all the supporting documents as set out in the Funding Agreement, to the address given. The City may contact you to arrange a site visit and we will have a brief review to ensure that all work has been carried out to the desired standard.

Q2 : I have been asked to provide an invoice to claim grant money, but as I don’t run a business I don’t have a format for creating an invoice. What does it need to contain?

A claim for payment from the City of Perth can be under a company letterhead or simply an individual’s name.

Q3 : I don’t have an ABN. How can I invoice the City?

Complete an invoice as outlined above. In addition you need to attach all relevant documentation as outlined in the Funding Agreement and invoices from the suppliers.

Q4 : I’m ready to submit my claim form, do I need to claim extra to cover GST payments?

If you are registered for GST then you will claim back all GST elements of your costs from the ATO. You must therefore submit a budget exclusive of GST. When you invoice the City to claim your grant, you will be liable to pay GST on the money received. You should therefore submit an invoice inclusive of GST.

If you are not registered for GST then you are liable to pay all GST elements of your costs, but are not required to pay GST on your income. You should therefore submit a budget and invoice that include GST.

Example

XYZ Corporation is registered for GST and has a builder’s quote for $10,000 + GST. Their budget will state a cost of $10,000 and they will claim $11,000 from the City.

Bill Hill is not registered for GST. He has a quote for $10,000 + GST. His budget will state $11,000 and his invoice to the City will be $11,000.

Heritage Rate Relief

Q1 : I’m applying for heritage rate relief and have been asked to submit a maintenance plan and sign an agreement to follow it. Isn’t this a lot of work to claim the discount?

The aim of the rate relief program is to support heritage property owners in the maintenance of their buildings. The City appreciates that the discount will not cover all the costs of maintenance, but the intention is to develop this scheme to provide more practical assistance. Meanwhile, it offers owners an incentive to conduct regular maintenance, which will also help to secure their investment in the property and limit the chances of major expenses for future repairs.

To claim Heritage Rate Relief, please download a copy of the maintenance agreement here and return it with supporting documents where available. Please contact the City of Perth on 9461 3333 if you have any queries about signing the agreement.

Q2 : What does the maintenance agreement need to include?

The maintenance agreement does not intend to add to the responsibilities of caring for a heritage property. All buildings require a degree of care to catch developing problems early and prevent them from being targets for antisocial behaviour. The maintenance schedule available helps owners to identify areas for inspection and action.

Q3 : I’m in a strata property. How do I arrange a maintenance agreement when it’s all done by the strata management company?

The City is willing to take submissions by strata management companies on behalf of owners, as long as there is a defined maintenance program. Individual owners will need to apply separately for the relief, as this can only be applied to the ratepayer directly. This is a good opportunity to find out how the strata management company is spending your fees.

Q4 : Do all owners in a strata have to apply together?

No, but multiple owners can refer to the same maintenance agreement. As noted above, rate relief can only be arranged direct with the ratepayer, so we are unable to take group applications on behalf of owners. You should also be aware that failure to stick to the agreed maintenance plan could mean that the relief is withdrawn from all owners - an incentive to ensure the management agent is carrying out the plan.

If you have any questions on the City of Perth Heritage Program that you would like answered, please email them to heritage@cityofperth.wa.gov.au