Vacant Buildings

We have put together a list of frequently asked about vacant / derelict buildings.

What is Council doing about derelict buildings?

1. Planning for revitalisation

The Newcastle Community Strategic Plan sets out the vision for the City Centre and the actions for revitalisation of the City Centre.

Find out more about the Community Strategic Plan

2. Monitoring and education

Council staff carry out proactive monitoring as well as regular surveillance of areas with derelict buildings. They also provide current information to respond to community requests.

Council regularly sends letters to building owners to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities to maintain their buildings.

3. Direct action on specific sites

The owners of specific buildings identified as being unsecure are contacted and requested take immediate action to address these sites.

What powers does Council have to action derelict buildings?

Under the Local Government Act, Council can serve an order on the owner or occupier of a building / premises if it is not in a safe or healthy condition. The order requires the owner / occupier to take action to ensure land / premises are returned to or kept in a safe or healthy condition.

Under the powers provided in the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act, if a building:

  • Is or is likely to become a danger to the public; or
  • Is so dilapidated as to be prejudicial to its occupants or to persons or property in the neighbourhood.

Council can serve an order on the owner of a building:

  • To repair or make structural alterations to a building
  • To demolition or remove a building.

Council can also order owners to build structures to protect persons or property on / in public places if a derelict building is dangerous and in the immediate vicinity of a public place.

What specific actions can Council require building owners to take?

Actions for derelict buildings include:

  • Requiring buildings to be boarded up to prevent unauthorised entry
  • Requiring land or structures to be fenced off to protect the public
  • Removing rubbish accumulated in the property
  • Removing overgrown vegetation on the property
  • Removing / repairing structures such as signs or awnings.

What action can Council take if the owner fails to act on an order?

If the owner fails to carry out the actions required in an order under the Local Government Act or the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act, council can:

  • Issue a Penalty Infringement Notice
  • Take legal action in the Local Court
  • Take legal action in the Land & Environment Court
  • Carry out the actions required in the order and seek to recover the costs from the owner.

What you can do about buildings that are unsightly or covered in graffiti?

Council offers a number of services to deal with graffiti including a graffiti reporting form and the graffiti hotline 1800 223 840. The graffiti hotline is a graffiti reporting service provided by Newcastle City Council to collect information about instances of graffiti across the local government area. Find out more about what services Council offers to combat graffiti.

Under the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act, Council can issue an order to alter, obliterate, demolish or remove an advertisement / advertising structure if it is unsightly, objectionable or injurious to the amenity of any natural landscape, foreshore, public reserve or public place at or near where the advertisement is displayed. Find out more about unauthorised signs.