The Kiwi quarter acre dream

A fairy tale… or is it?
July 30, 2020
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“What size nest should I buy for my family?” a young Kiwi wondered. His father answered; “A quarter acre section is perfect for us Kiwi, my son!”. The young Kiwi went off to search for his new nest – but most nests on the market were nowhere close to a quarter acre! Many were one-tenth of an acre or smaller!

As our young Kiwi found, property sizes such as these are now common across developed cities like Auckland. Smaller section sizes abound as opportunities open up for those who own a larger property in the appropriate zoning under the Auckland Unitary Plan (or the relevant district plan).

If you are a lucky Kiwi, who has land (or who can purchase part of your neighbour’s land), you may be considering subdividing your property to further feather your nest.

Subdivision requirements vary between different zones – single house zone, mixed housing suburban zone, mixed housing suburban zone and terrace housing and apartment buildings zone.  Under the current Auckland Unitary Plan, you may be allowed to build minor dwellings, dwellings up to two or three storeys or terrace housing and apartments of between five to seven storeys (depending on the zoning and specifications of your land).

During the subdivision, it is likely that part of the property will be designated for driveway and utility access (e.g. water, power, telecommunication and sewage).  Such access is usually created between the new titles of the subdivision, but sometimes it will also involve third parties (e.g. a utility company obtaining the right to lay cables or your neighbour granting a right of way to widen the driveway to satisfy council’s requirements).

Cautious Kiwi will ensure relevant easement documents with appropriate terms are prepared and registered (on the titles to the respective properties) to ensure they have an ongoing right to use those areas, and to avoid any defects on the new titles.

The council may also require a consent notice (amongst other documents) to be registered on the new titles to record certain ongoing obligations imposed on the landowner under the subdivision consent (e.g. maintenance of a stormwater tank on site).

If you’re subdividing on a larger scale, you may want to consider registering a land covenant. This way, you can create a building scheme to control the quality of your development, therefore increasing the overall value of your newly created sites.

For unit title development, a comprehensive set of body corporate operational rules should also be prepared and adopted.

It’s a lot for your average kiwi to take on! Here at Gaze Burt, we can assist you in liaising with your surveyor, planner, and the council.  We’ll ensure that required legal documents are prepared, with appropriate easements, land covenant, body corporate operation rules, and other interests registered.

Sensible Kiwi will always seek legal advice before signing any documents (including agreements for engaging other advisors such as surveyors and planners, or an agreement for purchasing your neighbour’s land as part of your subdivision project).  Please get in touch if we can assist in any way with your new nest project!

 

Julia Leung
Julia Leung
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