Converting a lease to freehold
The following cannot be converted to freehold:
- a lease over a reserve
- a lease that contains a specific condition that restricts the conversion of the lease to freehold
- a term lease issued for pastoral purposes
- road licences, occupation licences and permits to occupy.
All other term or perpetual leases may be considered for conversion to freehold. To convert a lease, submit the following to the business centre closest to the lease:
Your application will be assessed against the criteria specified in the Section 167 of the Land Act 1994. A departmental regional officer acts as the minister’s delegate to make this assessment. The officer needs to consider several criteria before making a decision on whether to approve an application and make an offer of freehold title.
The assessment will always consider the level of compliance with lease conditions. The assessment may also consider issues relating to:
- forest management
- public interest
- risk of degradation.
When considering an application, the officer will also:
- use relevant Land Act policies as a guide
- seek the views of relevant stakeholders (e.g. other state government agencies and local government authorities)
- consider native title issues in accordance with the Native Title Acts (Commonwealth and Queensland).
A departmental regional officer may also inspect the site.
If your application is refused solely on the basis that you had not fulfilled the lease conditions, you can appeal against the decision.
If an application is approved, the offer may specify various conditions. For example, you may have to have the land surveyed or the offer may be for only part of the lease. The offer will also set out the terms under which the freehold title may be obtained (including the purchase price for the freehold title) and what you must do next.
Unless a price or formula has already been stated in the conditions of the lease to be converted, the Act requires the minister to decide the purchase price. The purchase price will be:
- the total of the unimproved value of the land being offered, as if it were fee simple (freehold), and
- the market value of any commercial timber that is the property of the state on the land.
The unimproved value of the land is calculated as at the day the minister receives the conversion application. You can appeal against the minister’s decision on the purchase price.
For many leases, the payment price must be paid in a single payment. However, in some cases, you may be able to pay by annual instalments. If this option is available, it will be outlined in the offer.
The offer of freehold title will set out the payment price and various fees and other costs (such as stamp duty).
An accepted offer does not mean that the land automatically becomes freehold. When all the specified conditions of an offer are fulfilled, the minister will recommend to the Governor in Council that freehold title be granted.
It is the Governor in Council that grants the freehold title. Once signed by the Governor, you will be notified that the freehold title has been created.
For more information, contact the department district office closest to the land in question.
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Last reviewed 11 September 2012
Last updated 16 April 2010