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Home > Land > Land Facts > 15. What is freehold land?

What is freehold land?

Freehold land is land over which the Crown has granted an interest. The freehold interest is the least restricted interest in land and is usually known as 'ownership' of land. Unlike leasehold, the land is no longer called Crown land after the freehold interest has been granted. The Crown cannot put conditions on the use of the land like it can with Leasehold. There may be some restrictions on how the land can be used because of other laws (such as local government laws). The terms 'freehold' and 'fee simple' mean the same thing and are usually both called 'ownership' of land.

Freehold gives the owner of that interest the exclusive right to the land for an indefinite period of time. The owner of the freehold can sell the land to anyone else. The owner may also lease (or rent) the land to someone else on whatever conditions they like (just like the Crown can lease land).

When the Crown grants the freehold interest, it keeps a right to compulsorily buy the land back (in other words, even if you do not agree with the Crown buying the land back, it can) for public works such as roads, railways, bridges, schools, hospitals or other purposes to benefit the State. When freehold land is needed for that sort of use, the Crown first tries to buy the land by agreement with the owner. If that fails, then the Crown will compulsorily buy the land and pay compensation to the owners.

What is conditional freehold land?

The Crown can grant a conditional freehold interest in land. A conditional freehold title can be issued where there may be restrictions on use of the land and usually where there is a community benefit. It is the same as freehold, except that conditions restrict the use of the land. Also, any sale needs to be approved by the Minister for Lands. For example, if a charitable group has been granted Crown land to build and run a nursing home, they may later want to raise money to extend the nursing home. They could be granted a conditional freehold, and that could allow them to borrow money using the land as security.

Can freehold land transferred from ALT be sold?

If ALT freehold land is transferred to an Aboriginal community, then the land can be sold by that Aboriginal community. But there may be some conditions on a sale that were placed on the freehold interest when it was originally created by the State. Or there may be conditions placed on the land when it was transferred from the ALT which may restrict the ability to sell the land.

If ALT conditional freehold land is transferred to an Aboriginal community, then the land can only be sold with the approval of the Minister for Lands. There may also be some conditions on the sale that were agreed to when the original interest in land was created.

Can freehold land be mortgaged?


Are rates and other charges payable?

Yes, unless an exemption if obtained.

Is freehold the best type of title for Aboriginal communities?

People need to be aware that there are a number of responsibilities in owning freehold. For example, there are local government rates and charges, and service authority charges like water and electricity. Each Aboriginal community needs to decide whether freehold would suit the community best.

Can freehold land be changed to another type of interest in land?

Yes (see fact sheet on how interests in land can be changed for more information).

Last modified: 03 May 2010
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