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YOUR GUIDE TO SUBDIVIDING

If you are planning to subdivide land, there are a number of complex and overlapping requirements you need to be aware of:

1.         Council/planning requirements;

2.         Survey requirements;

3.         Legal requirements; and

4.         Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) requirements.

Your lawyer and surveyor/planner can help you through these steps to achieve the result you are aiming for.

This guide is an outline of the steps you will need to work through for your subdivision:

1.         Apply for Consent

A subdivision is a "use" of land under the law which requires the consent of your local Council. In addition, Council have "rules" set out in the district plan about what types of subdivisions are allowed in the zone your land is in.

You will need to apply to Council for a subdivision consent. Prior to making the application, you should speak to your lawyer and surveyor/planner to:

(a)          Check the rules, policy and zoning requirements in the district plan;

(b)          Check the certificate of title for the land and the effect of any registered interests;

(c)          Investigate any physical constraints of the land;

(d)          Investigate what services (eg: sewer, stormwater, water etc.) are in place and what services may be needed;

(e)          Involve specialist engineers or others to provide reports, if necessary (eg: soil condition, foundations, access, traffic impact etc.);

(f)           Inspect and measure the proposed subdivision to prepare the draft plan; and

(g)          Prepare an application with a plan and submit to Council - allow 20 working days for a response from Council, but be aware that Council may request further information and extend this timeframe.

If your property is subject to a mortgage or any other registered interest, you will also need to obtain consent from your bank if the subdivision goes ahead. Please note that Maori land is subject to separate rules.

2.         Resource Consent and Conditions

If your application complies with the district plan, Council will grant consent, usually subject to conditions. These conditions are things you must do as part of your subdivision to satisfy Council's requirements. In most cases, you will also be required to pay development contributions (DCs) as part of your consent. DCs are financial contributions to Council for infrastructure and can be costly - you should factor potential DCs in to the cost of your subdivision.

You should provide your lawyer and surveyor/planner with a copy of the consent and they can talk you through the effect of the conditions. If you are unhappy with any of the conditions, you have 15 working days from date of consent to object to Council.  

Once you have approved the consent, you can proceed with your subdivision. Be aware that most consents expire 5 years from the date of issue.

3.        Complete the Consent Conditions for Section 224(c) Certificate

The next step is to complete the conditions imposed by Council, which generally involve:

(a)          Works (being physical works for driveway, curbs, drainage etc. and installation of services for phone/power/gas/water etc.); and

(b)          Documents for registration.

In most cases, the works/services are to be managed by you but you will need to involve your lawyer to document any consent notice, easements, bonds or other interests to be registered.

As part of the document process, your lawyer will also discuss with you:

(a)          Ownership options;

(b)          The terms of any easements to be registered in regards to benefit, restrictions, costs, maintenance etc. - note than service providers have standard terms for these;

(c)          Any land covenants ("rules") you might wish to apply to the land once subdivided - these are common in most residential subdivisions;

(d)          The rights and options for your bank as mortgagee of the land.

Once the conditions have been met and any DCs have been paid, you can request a certificate from Council approving these, known as a "Section 224(c) Certificate." You will need to forward the Section 224(c) Certificate to your lawyer to ensure it meets LINZ requirements.

4.         Land Transfer Plan andSection 223 Certificate

Your surveyor will need to carry out the formal measuring of the subdivision, pegging of boundaries and the land transfer plan (LT plan). The LT plan will also include any easement areas, amalgamations, roads or reserves which may be required under the conditions of your consent.

In most cases you will either have completed or be completing the conditions imposed by Council so that any easement areas, amalgamations, roads or reserves can be shown on the LT plan.

Once the LT plan is prepared, your surveyor will apply to Council for approval of the LT plan, known as a "Section 223 Certificate." Often the applications for the Section 223 and 224(c) Certificates are filed at the same time. Once you have these certificates, these can be lodged with the LT plan with LINZ for registration.

LINZ will check the LT plan and section 223 Certificate to ensure these are compliance before registering. This can be done in advance of Step 3 above but in most cases the LT plan and section 223 Certificate are lodged with the Step 3 documents for faster processing.

5.           Order for New Certificate of Title

Once the Section 223 and 224(c) Certificates are available, your lawyer will then need to finalise the documents and set up a LINZ dealing to:

(a)          Discharge (or consent) of any mortgages or other charges on the land;

(b)          Order for new certificates of title;

(c)          A partial transfer, if required for a boundary adjustment;

(d)          Any consent notice required by Council; and

(e)          Register the terms of any easements, encumbrance, land covenants or other interests required for the new titles.

Ideally the LT plan, section 223 Certificate, section 224(c) Certificate and all documents referred to above are lodged the together for LINZ to process with a fast-track request (which generally means a response from LINZ within 10 working days).

LINZ can requisition (query or ask for more information) or reject any of the documents if they do not comply with LINZ requirements. Working closely with your lawyer and surveyor will minimise the chances of a requisition or rejection. Once LINZ grants approval, the LT plan deposits and the new certificates of title are issued.

The timeframe for completion is dependent on the extent of the consent conditions imposed, the work required and other related matters. Talk to your lawyer or surveyor for more detailed information on timeframes. 

Written by Brooke Courtney at 09:00

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