Subdivisions – What Do You Need to Know?

Are you considering subdividing your property? Subdivisions may seem a daunting and complex process by many, but with the right team of professionals at your side the subdivision process can be completed with minimal fuss – in essence it simply a process which is followed.  The following is an overview of the usual steps:

  • Working out if your property can be subdivided (surveyors or planners can assist here as well as lawyers who can check your head title to ensure there are no restrictions on your ability to subdivide).
  • Applying for a resource consent from your local council (your surveyors or planner commonly does this).
  • Once consent issues, having the property surveyed/marked and a survey plan prepared (this is done by your surveyor).
  • Having any necessary works completed (eg. entranceways, services installed, contributions paid to council for the new lots created).
  • Having the local council approve your survey plan as well as inspecting and approving any associated works and issuing final certificates.
  • Lodging the survey plan with Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) for approval (this is also done by your surveyor).
  • Having all the necessary legal documents prepared including obtaining any bank consents and lodging all the documents ordering the new titles with LINZ.  This is done by your lawyer.

There are many factors which can lengthen and complicate the standard process, so the knowledge of your professional advisors and their management of the process are key to minimising and streamlining the subdivision.  This can mean less cost to you.

As lawyers, we often come on board after the survey plan has been approved by the council or LINZ.  However, having lawyers involved early on can allow checks on the subdivision. Sometimes issues will be identified and resolved at the beginning which can avoid problems arising down the line and can help speed up the process.

So what does your lawyer do?  In addition to checking the head title, the survey plan and advising on the process and all legal aspects of the subdivision, they also:

  • Prepare any necessary easement instruments – easements give sections the legal right to services such as water, electricity, sewage as well as any shared access ways (known as rights of way) etc.
  • Prepare any land covenants – these are registered documents which set out rights and obligations on owners and what owners can and cannot do with their land (eg no further subdivision, size or number of dwellings, no commercial activities, no build-up of rubbish etc).
  • Liaise with banks, accountants, surveyors, council and other relevant parties to ensure all necessary signoffs and final certificates are received to enable the subdivision to be completed.
  • With all certificates and approvals obtained the lawyers will also have any relevant documents signed with the developer to be able to apply for the new titles and complete registration.
  • If you are planning on selling one or more of the new titles you are creating then your lawyer should also be able to assist with preparation of contracts for sale and complete sales of the new titles – sale contracts can be prepared at any time and it does not matter if this is prior to issue of title or even the application for subdivision consent itself. Many developers take comfort in having sale contracts already signed and confirmed when completing subdivisions knowing there will be sale funds coming once titles issue or in some cases even being able to utilise purchase deposits or selling one lot initially to fund the main subdivision itself which can assist with minimising any need for finance.

There are many things to think about if you are considering subdividing, and expert advice is essential.  At Core Legal Limited, we have the knowledge and experience and can provide a smooth and hassle-free service to complete subdivisions whether two residential lots or a multi-stage development of 100 lots or more.  If you would like to discuss subdivisions in more detail and what we can offer then please contact us and book a free 30 minute consultation or contact Christian Jorgensen at christian@corelegal.co.nz.

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