The City of Boroondara has many right of ways, commonly known as laneways. These right of ways were established when land was subdivided to provide access to the rear of adjoining properties. These right of ways, as well as some drainage and sewerage reserves, are generally owned by the original subdivider, not by Council.

Council is responsible for maintaining existing rights of way that are constructed from bluestone, concrete or asphalt. We don't maintain rights of way that are unconstructed or unmade; it's the responsibility of adjoining property owners to make sure they don't become overgrown.

Right of way discontinuance

The Local Government Act 1989 gives Council the power to 'discontinue' (or close) a right of way when they are satisfied that it is ‘no longer reasonably required for public use’.

In general, this means that we must be satisfied that adjoining property owners or the public don't require current or future access to their properties via the right of way.

We follow a process to decide whether to permanently discontinue a right of way. This process can be started by us or by a property owner adjoining the right of way.

A request to Council for the discontinuance of a right of way is assessed in accordance with current Council policies and the Local Government Act 1989.

Purchasing part of a discontinued right of way

When Council does decide to discontinue a right of way, it offers the land for sale on a share basis to adjoining property owners. However, in line with our policy, we take into consideration the existing occupancy of the right of way when it is discontinued and sold.

The land value is determined by an independent valuer.

The purchasers also have to pay legal costs associated with the sale, and other related costs, such as lodgement of the Transfer of Land at the Land Titles Office.

Access to a discontinued right of way

If there are public authority assets on the right of way land, for example, sewerage, water or power, an easement is retained so the relevant authority can access the land.

These authorities have the right to enter the land to repair or maintain their assets, which also means that no permanent structures can be built on the land.

Request a right of way discontinuance

To apply for a right of way discontinuance, you need to complete an

Application for right of way discontinuance

With your application you need to include:

  • reasons that the right of way is no longer required for public use
  • written support from other adjoining property owners.

We'll assess the application, including:

  • Carrying out preliminary investigation into whether the right of way is suitable for discontinuance.
  • If it is considered suitable for discontinuance, the application is forwarded to lawyers and strategists who handle the discontinuance process on behalf of Council.
  • Searching for the title and carrying out more detailed investigation.
  • Distributing a questionnaire to all adjoining property owners to find out if there's support for the proposed discontinuance.
  • Presenting the application and report at a Council meeting for a approval.
  • If approved, commencing the statutory procedures for the discontinuance of the right of way, including a public notice inviting submissions.
  • Considering any submissions and then making a decision to discontinue all of the road or part of the road, or not to discontinue the road.

The process can take up to 12 months - from application to the issuing of the land title.

For more information, contact Property Management on 9278 4325.

Adverse possession

It's important to note that even if a property owner has occupied land in a right of way for a considerable time, ownership of the land is not automatically granted to the owner.

In order to receive title to a right of way, you have to either purchase it from Council (following the right of way discontinuance process) or to claim it by adverse possession. For more information about adverse possession, see Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

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