Your guide to property subdivision

Residential property subdivision is the process where you divide your land into separate legal titles in order to enable separate ownership and development. Subdividing your property requires going through statutory and legal processes and it can be overwhelming if it is your first time doing it. Here’s some general information that can ease you understanding the process better.

General Process and Professionals Involved

The first step is to figure out whether you can subdivide your property by checking the zoning of the property under the relevant District/Unitary Plan. Each zone has its own set of rules for subdivision and most subdivisions will require you to obtain a resource consent from your local council as the first step. This is where it is recommended that you engage an urban planner to manage the project during the feasibility and consenting stages.

To get a resource consent from your local council, you will need to prepare an application and lodge it with your local council. This is where professionals like surveyors and urban planners help you by explaining the estimated costs of the subdivision process while managing the consenting process. At Oasis Base, we have experience working with councils across New Zealand, including Auckland Council, Waikato District Council, Palmerston North City Council, Hutt City Council, Wellington City Council and Westland District Council.

It is recommended that a resource consent application for a proposed subdivision project is managed by an experienced urban planner. The urban planner will manage the resource consent application process, including preparation (with the help of other specialists such as landscape designers, civil engineers, architects, surveyors etc.), lodgement of the application to the relevant council and work with council until the resource consent application for subdivision has been approved.

Once a resource consent application has been granted by the relevant council (this often takes around three months), the next stages of your application can proceed – this includes building consent managed by an Architect (if you are proposing a new house on the subdivided section) and surveying process managed by a Land Surveyor. Once all the consent and documentation side of things is completed and conditions of consents have been met, a surveyor will lodge a certificate with Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), signed by Council. LINZ will approve of the certificate and issue out a new certificate of title for the newly subdivided land.

Use of property and Services

There are several reasons as to why people choose to subdivide their property. Some might subdivide to sell the land. Some might use the newly subdivided land to develop further by establishing a new house on it to live in or sell. Because of the different uses of the new site, there may be a need for an additional resource or building consent to support the development. When consulting with your urban planner, it is important to let them know exactly what you plan to do with the subdivided land so that the application process can be efficient.

A new site also needs to be serviced properly in order for your local council to approve of the resource consent and the survey plans. Depending on the site, required services include:

  • An appropriate vehicular access
  • Access to wastewater and stormwater connections
  • Installation of water, power and telecommunications

These houses are able to accommodate a higher density of people in a smaller area as well as saving resources and money for development compared to single houses. Auckland and Wellington are moving towards others housing typologies as it is a right step in addressing the housing crisis and minimizing environmental impacts associated with intensification.

Subdivision Costs

According to Auckland Council, an average two-lot subdivision can cost around $120,000 – $150,000 for the approved consent, taking into consideration the application fees, LINZ fees, professional fees from urban planners, landscape designers, architects, engineers, lawyers, surveyors and fees for issuing a new certificate of title. Of course, if you plan to do more with the newly subdivided land, these fees will increase as more consents are needed and more professionals are involved. This also applies when the site is required to be serviced. 

The process may be expensive, but it is worth the effort when the returns are considered.One of the best ways to save time and money is to involve an urban planner at the initial stages of the project in order to get early advice and guidance.

At Oasis Base, we manage resource consents for subdivisions, residential activities and commercial activities. In addition to urban planning, our services expand to urban design, landscape design and project management giving you the whole package of professionals that you would need from the start to the end of your subdivision project