Find out if you need to offer the Crown any of the land you are selling, and how to do so.
What is special land?
Special land is foreshore, seabed, riverbed or lakebed as defined in the Overseas Investment Act 2005. Special land includes marine and coastal areas within the boundaries (such as a property with a lake) or on the boundary of the lot (such as a river that runs along the boundary of the property). Special land consists of the bed of the water body, and does not include the water itself, or the area above the water.
What do I need to do if I’m selling land that includes special land?
If you are selling land that includes special land to an overseas person, you must offer the special land to the Crown (or request a waiver of this requirement) as part of the buyer’s application for consent. The offer of special land forms a part of the assessment of the buyer’s application for consent.
Generally, special land is offered to the Crown at no cost, but you can offer it at market value. Please note, offering the special land at market value (or requesting a waiver) will likely increase the timeframe for the consent process as the cost to acquire the special land is taken into account when considering whether to accept the offer.
How do I offer the special land?
The buyer must include a sensitive land certificate in their consent application, and either a Notice of Intention to Offer the special land or a request for a waiver from the requirement to offer the special land to the Crown:
Sensitive land certificate
A sensitive land certificate is a document that tells us about the features and qualities of an area of land, including any special land. Identifying special land can be a complex exercise so we recommend the sensitive land certificate be provided by an experienced land professional.
Notice of Intention to Offer
The Notice of Intention to Offer is a document that confirms you intend to offer the special land to the Crown. It must be signed by you and the buyer. The details that must be included in the Notice of Intention to Offer are listed in Regulation 14, which we have templated for ease of use. You can change the template to reflect your circumstances (for example, by changing the offer from no cost to market value) as long as it continues to comply with Regulation 14.
What happens after the offer is submitted?
We will assess the offer of the special land, prepare draft agreements of transfer, and negotiate terms at the same time as the buyer’s application for consent under the Act is being assessed. We provide Ministers with a report of our assessment of the offer of special land but the decision to accept or waive the special land offer is ultimately a Ministerial one.
It usually takes longer to assess applications that include special land. It is likely to be quicker if you offer the special land at no cost, provide all required information on the sensitive land certificate, and use our template Notice of Intention to Offer.
If you intend to offer the special land at market value or request a waiver, then the negotiation of the special land agreement may not happen until after either:
- Ministers decide to waive the right to acquire the land or
- The land is surveyed and valued.
Note that if you request a waiver and it is declined, the buyer’s application cannot progress until the special land offer process (which may include considering access arrangements, consultation, survey and valuation) is completed and agreements are negotiated and signed.
Sale and purchase agreements
We can create sale and purchase agreements to reflect the special land offer while other consent criteria are assessed. We will send these to you to sign. Here are some examples of our agreements for sale and purchase of special land:
- Template example - Agreement for sale and purchase of special land - foreshore and seabed (DOCX 83KB) DOCX | 82.74 KB
- Template example - Agreement for sale and purchase of special land - riverbed and lakebed (DOCX 93KB) DOCX | 93.46 KB
The current Ministerial Directive Letter contains the Government’s general policy approach to the acquisition of special land.