Subdivisions - how do they work?

10 November 2022

Subdivisions come in all different shapes and sizes. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Whether it be a seemingly simple boundary adjustment, or a complex large scale commercial development, every subdivision requires special care and consideration.

If you have a vision for your land and are ready to see that vision through to reality, the first (and arguably most valuable) step you can take is to gather a team of professional advisors and have a discussion about your goals. You will work closely with your surveyor and lawyer throughout this process.

You will need to be clear on what you want to achieve. Talk to your surveyor and lawyer about your vision and try to keep an open mind about the process you may need to follow to get there. In most cases, there will be more than one way to achieve your goal, and your surveyor, lawyer and wider planning team will talk you through the advantages and disadvantages of each. 

A key part of the planning process is to consider the existing title and whether anything currently registered on the title could hinder the process. You may need to work around existing easements, and other title restrictions or encumbrances may need to be addressed before you can proceed.  This is where your lawyer’s input at an early stage can prove invaluable to helping the process run smoothly.

Once you have made some decisions about the shape and size that your subdivision is going to take, it is time to approach the Council for subdivision consent. If your plans involve construction, building consents may be required too.

Your surveyor, lawyer and wider planning team will guide you through the application process, and you will need some input from your contractors at this point too. It is a good idea to keep all your professional advisors  involved throughout the process so that any potential issues can be picked up early on.

When the Council consents are granted, it is time to get to work on the land. The Council will likely impose conditions on the consent which will need to be met before the subdivision can progress. These conditions can vary and commonly include requirements to ensure services are available to the resulting properties.

Once you have met all of the Council’s conditions, your surveyor will help you to arrange the final signoffs for the subdivision and development of your land. The signoffs that you will need from the Council to complete the subdivision include certificates confirming the subdivision plans are approved and ready to become titles and all council conditions have been or will be met.

In addition to the certificates from the Council, you may need to pay development contributions in respect of any additional rating units, i.e. new dwellings to be serviced by Council infrastructure, prior to completion of the subdivision. You should be able to get a rough indication of these costs at the outset of the process.

As a final step in the subdivision process, your lawyer will review the final plan and prepare all the documentation required to turn the survey plan into new titles. Any easements or land covenants that you may need or desire will be finalised at this point, and the subdivision will then be sent to Land Information New Zealand to process and then your new titles will issue. 

Subdivisions include a number of moving parts. Every subdivision is different, and even the simple ones can benefit from careful consideration and planning at each stage of the process.

For any further assistance, we invite you to contact our specialist team to discuss your vision and goals.


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