I am a home owner

Home owner

Residential property makes up 90% of properties in NSW for FESL purposes.

If you own your home (or a property you rent out) and insure the building and contents you will already be paying the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) via your insurance premiums. If you rent your home click here.

From 1 July 2017, the Government will abolish the current insurance-based Emergency Services Levy and replace it with the Fire and Emergency Services Levy (FESL) paid by property owners alongside council rates. 

The FESL will be calculated according to two factors depending on the classification of property as residential, farmland, industrial, commercial, vacant or public benefit:

  1. A fixed charge; and
  2. A variable charge based on unimproved land value  as determined by the NSW Valuer General (visit the 'How much will the FESL cost?' section in our FAQs for a definition of unimproved land value).

The exact levy rates are here

The cost of an average residential property insurance policy is expected to be around $233 lower than would otherwise be the case as a result of the removal of the Emergency Services Levy (ESL). This will help make insurance more affordable for more people.

The reform will mean the obligation of funding NSW's fire and emergency services will no longer fall only on those with property insurance, but all property owners.

Land meets the requirements for classification as Residential Land for purposes of the FESL if it is classified by a council as residential for purposes of calculating your council rates.

What about vacant residential land?

Vacant residential land will receive a discount. Owners or lessees will be required to make an application to their councils for a sub-classification of ‘vacant’. 

Vacant ’Residential’, ‘Commercial’ or ‘Industrial’ land may be classified as ‘Vacant’ if:  

  1. it has been classified as ‘Residential’, ‘Industrial’ or ‘Commercial’ and 
  2. there are no buildings or structures (complete or incomplete) on the land that are being used or that could be used for a ‘Residential’, ‘Industrial’ or ‘Commercial’ purpose, and
  3. the land is not being used for storage or treatment of goods, materials or any other item.

You may apply to your council to seek a ‘Vacant’ land sub-classification. This may be done via a standard form that council may have on its website, or through some other means advised to you by the council.

Your council may charge an application fee (currently up to $50) for reviewing an application for ‘Vacant’ status under FESL. If your application is successful, any fee charged by council will be refunded.