Alpine Property Guide

The Mt Buller resort offers some of the best alpine real estate opportunities in Australia. Classic style club lodges of the 60’s sit alongside state of the art modern developments. Mt Buller’s village is perfectly situated in the heart of the mountain, nestled amongst snow gums and offering up the most spectacular snow-capped mountain views. It is the closest premium alpine resort to Melbourne and the most popular ski destination in Australia. The latest surge in development at Mt Buller is seen to reinforce its position as Australia’s best all-season alpine resort – an ideal location in which to invest for your lifestyle.







Alpine Property Titles
All property ownership within Australian ski resorts is leasehold title. At Mt Buller, every building has a head-lease issued by the Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management Board (RMB).

Under the Alpine Resorts (Management) Act 1997, the RMB is the Statutory Authority responsible for the management of Crown Land at Mt Buller. The most common form of property ownership is by shares in a landholding company together with a sub-lease. The shareholding gives rights of participation in management of the holding company and the sub-lease provides security of tenure that may be registered at the title’s office.

Both sub-lease and company shares entitle the owner to exclusive use and ownership of the property. This ownership model closely reflects ownership of freehold land within an owners corporation.

Buildings are managed by a quasi-owners corporation either formed by the owners, and/or an owners corporation manager. The proprietary limited company owns the head-lease and manages the owners corporation. Most owners’ corporations have annual meetings to discuss current and future maintenance works – financials and minutes are provided to each owner.

They have Articles of Association and building rules, which make up the guidelines as to how the building is managed. Most buildings have a committee made up of appointed directors who help manage the building.

The company pays all the outgoings on the owners’ behalf. Outgoings include site rental costs, service charges, land tax, building insurance, repairs, maintenance, accounting and management. Utilities and contents insurance are payed directly by the owners.
Alpine Leasehold Solicitor
Understanding alpine property titles can be unusual and that’s why it’s a great idea to use the services of an experienced alpine solicitor to act on your behalf and clear up any queries you might have. Adams highly recommend using a solicitor with extensive experience in alpine resorts and leasehold transactions.

If you decide to use a solicitor you are familiar with, please ensure they have relevant experience with alpine leasehold structures and the procedures associated with the acquisition of Alpine property. We can provide you with a number of experienced alpine solicitors to achieve a smooth and stress-free transaction for both buyers and sellers.
Financing Alpine Property
Before buying any property, you must always be sure of your finance. The type of leasehold arrangement for alpine property has a significant impact on whether banks are prepared to lend.

It’s important that you obtain the right advice from your banker. Some banks may only lend up to 50-60% on the security of the property – you can of course borrow more using other security.

Registration of alpine sub-leases has made accessibility to finance more readily available. There are numerous methods of structuring finance – this needs to be examined depending on your use of the premises and your financial circumstances.
Contract of Sale
In some cases, contract of sales are not prepared until a deal has been negotiated between the two parties. Therefore, any offer made on the property is subject to your alpine solicitor’s review of the contract and section 32 which is usually prepared within 2 weeks. An initial holding deposit will be required, with the balance of the 10% deposit payable on exchange of contract.

Nearly all properties are sold on a walk-in/walk-out basis inclusive of all modern conveniences – having furniture delivered to the property can be more difficult during the snow season. An inventory of furniture will always form part of the contract and section 32.
Ownership Transfer Costs
As the Landlord, the RMB must provide written consent whenever a transaction takes place, including the transfer of ownership of a Crown Allotment, Sub-Lease of an apartment/unit or car park, License, Mortgage or change in share ownership.

Buildings are owned under a Head Lease with the RMB acting as Landlord. Ownership of apartments/units/carparks are through either a Sub Lease or Share arrangement.

A fee of $825 (inc GST) per consent is payable to Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management Board.
Alpine Lease Renewal
A common misconception for new buyers of alpine properties is the idea of losing ownership when the lease expires. Alpine leases in Australia are in fact very different to the 99-year leases you hear about overseas where you lose ownership once the term ends.

At Mt Buller when the alpine lease period comes to an end, the landholding company which owns the head-lease (made up of sub-lease owners and/or shareholders) are given the first right to renegotiate a new lease term with the Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management Board (RMB).

The RMB works collaboratively with Lessees to help secure the longest lease term possible in accordance with the Alpine Leasing Policy and Property/Leasing Procedure.

Lessees are recommended to initiate the lease renewal process one to two years before the lease expiry date. However, Lessees can surrender their existing lease and enter into negotiations with the Board for a new lease at any time, if they want to. If the new lease isn’t finalised before the existing lease expires, over-holding provisions apply to ensure tenure continuity.

The company could also choose to use the services of an experienced alpine solicitor to assist and review the proposed lease with the RMB.

There are relatively small costs involved to do this, provided the building has been maintained over the years and is in good structural condition. Most buildings will either have a sinking fund for future works or will request a special levy in order to keep the building up to date and structurally sound. Adams Estate Agents can advise you at the time of purchase; the remaining lease term, the condition of the building and any proposed works

The only time when you might lose the ability to renew the head-lease is when the building is uninhabitable and structurally damaged to the point of no return. It is important to understand that if that were to happen, the current owners would then get the first right to put forward a proposal to the RMB to redevelop the land and negotiate a development lease (usually 3-5 years). Otherwise they could sell the current site with the remaining lease term to a keen developer.

Except for some minor legal costs to obtain the new lease, owner/s do not have to re-purchase the property or land and always have the opportunity to renew the lease.