What you Need to Know about Subdividing your Property

Subdividing your property is the process of dividing your land and the establishment of separate legal titles for each of the new sections.

Simple subdivisions such as a boundary adjustment between neighbours may involve only the
owners, the surveyor, the Council and a solicitor. More complex subdivisions can require a wide
range of professional involvement including engineers, contractors, architects, designers, landscape architects, planners, quantity surveyors, valuers and real estate agents.

You may choose to manage the process yourself but using professionals to lead larger subdivisions will mean a smoother process and is likely to lead to better results.

Early advice and planning

You’ve got an idea for a development or subdivision but don’t know how to proceed or whether it’s even feasible. Getting well informed advice early on in the process could save you time and money later on.

Undertaking a subdivision can be a risky, exciting and costly exercise. It’s a good idea to understand the sort of costs and level of risk that may be involved before you decide to embark on the process. Costs you are likely to incur include council and LINZ fees such as the resource consent application fee and development contributions, and fees charged by consultants including engineers, your lawyer and surveying company.

Engaging a surveyor to undertake a feasibility report can help you understand the process and whether your idea is practical or not. They may even be able to recommend alternatives where appropriate.

Getting a surveyor on board early on in the process can be a good way to minimise risks before taking the next steps.

Subdivisions

Subdivision types

There are 3 main subdivision types. A fee simple or freehold title is the most common where an owner holds the full title. Crosslease (flat) and unit title (strata) ownerships are different part share arrangements. It’s best to obtain advice from an independent surveyor or lawyer regarding the appropriate ownership type for your situation.

Vehicle access approval

Planning for vehicle access and on-site parking should be considered early on in the subdivision design process. Most residential subdivisions require each lot to have its own access and often stipulate a certain number of parking sites per unit. On sloping sites or sites adjoining busy roads the vehicle access can limit the house design. A professional surveyor will follow best design practices.

Subdivision consent

You will need to obtain resource consent for subdividing from your local council. This can be a specialist process and in the first instance requires examining your relevant District or City Plan to determine what zoning applies to your land, whether your subdivision will be permitted and whether any particular restrictions or conditions will apply.

If your subdivision will not achieve the minimum lot size for its zone, the council may ask your neighbours for their agreement or publicly notify your proposal. A planner or land surveyor can guide you through this stage and prepare the consent application for you.

Preparation of plans

Detailed subdivision plans will need to be submitted as part of the consent application but once you’ve obtained consent, you will also need to arrange the formal cadastral survey to be undertaken which finalises the new boundaries and dimensions and final positioning of any on-site infrastructure.

Certification and issue of title

The council will check that all the consent conditions have been met and your surveyor will lodge the final plan with LINZ who approve it and issue the new title or titles.

The subdivision process can be lengthy and complex. Getting professional help from a land surveying company or subdivision specialist like The Surveying Company can save time, worry and unexpected costs.

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