Many people once considered subdivision a term only used by land developers but today, many local families are considering subdividing their land parcels. Are you considering subdividing your land but need help figuring out where to start?
The process can be daunting if this is your first time separating land titles. Perhaps you’ve just caught the end of a conversation about others doing it successfully and you want to know more. We’ve put together a guide of everything you need to know about land subdivisions to benefit you.
What is a Subdivision?
A land subdivision allows a landowner or applicant to divide their land into a minimum of 2 separate lots. They can make the properties easier to sell and develop, by creating new land titles.
Land sizes depend on your local zoning as that sets out requirements for new titles including minimum property sizes. This is where speaking with professionals familiar with land development – such as lawyers, surveyors or planners – can be useful in determining if your land can be split.
One of the most common reasons why a person chooses to subdivide their land is for additional income. They’ll split their land to create a new house lot for themselves, and land packages that they will then sell as investments.
Sometimes, an extended family will also purchase acreage that they wish to break into smaller land titles. This can be more cost-effective than purchasing individual blocks within an estate. It’s also useful in the event that someone passes away or wants to sell. This means that the family can all still live in close proximity to one another, without the complications later on if they do not have wills or estate succession planning in place.
Benefits of Subdividing Your Property
There are many reasons why more and more people are choosing to subdivide their land. These include:
– Financial incentives such as an investment property with rental income
– Environmental reasons such as reducing the urban sprawl and environmental footprint
– Affordable living – Smaller block sizes mean they are more economical for people to acquire.
– Creating a new title for additional dwellings
– ideal for families wanting to share the land with children at an affordable and fair rate
– Less maintenance – Reducing your land size means less time spent on yard maintenance.
While there are many other benefits, these are the most common reasons that our clients opt to divide their land.
Steps To Subdividing In Victoria
While each subdivision of land is different, there are a number of common steps that a person must undertake in order to be successful with their division of land.
Doing Due Diligence
This is where a professional surveyor, councillor or solicitor looks over the existing title to see if there are any restrictions or clauses that may prevent you from carrying out the development. Sometimes protected land areas, covenants or easements in the existing title may be a barrier to moving forward with an application. A solicitor or surveyor is advised for this stage as you will be working with them closely further in the process.
Survey & Drafting
A licensed land surveyor is needed to come and complete a cadastral survey of the land. This is to help determine boundary locations, the status of the land and the rights, restrictions and interests in the property.
They will work with you on the initial proposal, before liaising with the council to meet requirements for the area. A proposed plan of subdivision will need to be approved by you before being lodged. More often than not, external consultants are required to assist with the application.
Obtaining a permit
Most subdivisions will require a planning permit, which will need to be issued by Council. The process and requirements will vary based on your proposal.
Once all of the application and subdivision details have been lodged with council, you’ll await assessment. A council planner will review the application submitted and discuss any concerns with you. Council may issue requests for further information which can delay the process.
Information will be sent to you or your surveyor on the instructions on any advertising requirements. This allows for neighbours and interested parties to provide feedback on your subdivision. Council will take the time to review the proposal and draft conditions for your planning permit. You will then be advised the outcome of your planning permit.
Who Can Help You Subdivide Your Land?
As mentioned earlier, subdividing your land is a team effort with lawyers, surveyors, planners and other specialists completing different parts of the project.
A solicitor will be responsible for the legal documents necessary to lodge and register your new titles – including following up with external parties for documentation.
Land Use Victoria requires the use of a conveyancer or lawyer to manage, prepare and lodge the application for registration of a plan of subdivision via the government portal SPEAR.
What Other Work Will Solicitors Handle When Subdividing
The subdivision process involves quite a bit of work, with many things to handle in order to get registered titles.
A lot of extra work is involved, which an experienced property lawyer can help you navigate in a way that saves time, and money and ensures you’ve legally covered everything you need.
Creation, Variation and Removal of Easements
Part of the subdivision process is dealing with rights affecting other lots – commonly called easements. These easements can be for many reasons – drainage, road access, power – and part of the development process includes ensuring that they are added, removed or varied as required to proceed with lodgment of your subdivision.
Creation, Variation and Removal of Restrictive Covenants
Your property may be subject to restrictive covenants which limit what you can or cannot do with the property. These should be identified as part of the due diligence process – and a property lawyer will work with you to have the covenant modified or removed to allow your subdivision to proceed.
Once subdivided, you may also wish to create your own restrictive covenants to ensure that your own lot is protected by a restrictive covenant. Your solicitor will prepare the restrictive covenant and ensure it binds the other properties in your development.
Preparation, Review & Lodgment of Section 173 Agreements
Often Councils will require special agreements to be prepared and signed under section 173 of the Planning & Environment Act 1987. These are agreements with an owner of land to set out obligations or restrictions regarding the use and development of land. It’s a legally binding agreement that all future landowners and occupants will also be bound under. If required, this will be a requirement before the subdivision of land can proceed.
While the overall process may seem daunting, when working with a team of trusted professionals, you have nothing to worry about.
Teams like ours are equipped to make the process as seamless as possible for you. Contact us if you need additional information, we’d love to hear from you!