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Home ownership leases

The home ownership lease provides an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to purchase their own home on Indigenous communal lands.

The Queensland Government is also working to provide Indigenous communities with access to freehold title.

Features of a home ownership lease

The trustee leases the land to you. The land remains in trust for the benefit of the community. However, you have exclusive use of the land, which means the general community cannot enter or use the property without your permission.

You will pay an amount to the trustee to buy the lease and any house on the leased land if you did not build it.

If there is no house on the land when you lease it, you must build an approved house within 8 years. Your bank/lender may have other requirements. Ask them for more information.

You can sell your lease and house but you must talk to the trustee first to find out about the lease conditions.

What costs are involved?

You will need to pay:

  • upfront cost of the land, which will vary depending on the size of the area to be leased
  • annual rental lease charge of no more than $1
  • purchase price of a house (if there is an established house on the land)
  • cost of building a house (if the land is vacant).

You may also need to pay for:

  • surveying the land
  • native title negotiations
  • a development application and approval from the local council to build a house.

Visit Indigenous Business Australia for more information on other costs associated with buying a home.

Buying a social housing house

If you are living in social housing, you can apply to the trustee to get a lease and buy the house. The trustee will ask the Department of Housing and Public Works for approval to grant the lease and sell the house. If approval is granted, you can then buy the house.

Who can get a lease?

To be eligible to apply, you must be either:

  • an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person
  • the spouse, or former spouse of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person (this includes a de facto partner and a registered partner)
  • the spouse or a former spouse of a deceased Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person
  • the holder of an existing lease within the community.

Purchase price of the lease

When you buy a home ownership lease, you will pay the trustee a lump sum for the price of the lease.

The price represents the value of the land. The land is valued using this method (determined by legislation and the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy):

  • a block of leased land up to 2,000m2 is valued at $4,000
  • blocks of leased land larger than 2,000m2 are valued at $4,000 for leases for the 2,000m2 plus an extra $100 for each additional 100m2 (e.g. a 2,200m2 block of land would be valued at $4,200)

Land values are reviewed every 3 years and usually increase in line with the consumer price index.

Contact us for more information about how land is valued.

How are leases granted?

The trustee decides what land to make available for home ownership. This is subject to local government planning approval. Before granting a lease, the trustee will need to make sure that any native title issues have been dealt with.

The trustee also decides if they will grant a lease. Before making a decision, they may consult with the community or give notice of their intention to grant the lease.

If the lease includes a social housing home, the trustee must also have Queensland Government approval before they grant the lease.

If the trustee approves your application, they will send you a draft lease agreement. It will include information on how much the land and house will cost and any other conditions you will need to meet. You should get independent legal advice before you sign the agreement.

How to apply

Fill in one of these forms and return it to your local trustee.

If you need help, contact the trustee. Contact us for questions about lease applications.

Find out more about home ownership

Home ownership team

Remote Indigenous Land and Infrastructure Program Office
Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
Level 9 Corporate Towers, 15 Lake Street
Cairns QLD 4870
Phone: 1800 001 931

Department of Housing and Public Works

Indigenous Business Australia
Free call: 1800 107 107

Torres Strait Regional Authority
Free call: 1800 079 093