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Subdivisions from Go to Whoa

NZ $30.00
Author(s): Debra Dorrington, Ian Cameron
Published: 20 July, 1998
Pages: 80



Now is an excellent time to revisit the subdivision process. The Resource Management Act provides the legislative framework for subdivisions, has been with us now for seven years. This has been long enough for the development of new district plans, for the market to fully test the regulations and for criticism to be validly and usefully made. Indeed, the Ministry for the Environment has itself initiated an independent critique of the Act and it’s workings. Owen McShane, in his paper Land Use Control Under the Resource Management Act - A Think Piece, has received considerable publicity throughout the country. A large component of his paper is an analysis of the Resource Management Act as it relates to subdivisions. His proposal, relating to subdivisions, is radical. He wants them dealt with separately and removed from the Resource Management Act.

New legislation has meant new district plans have been developed throughout the country. To fully understand them, their relative significance and specific meaning, requires a range of skills. It seems property lawyers are not developing those skills but leaving the interpretation and understanding of the plans to a range of other experts such as resource planners, surveyors and architects. In many instances a strong argument can be made that this is appropriate. However, for many conveyancers it leaves a huge gap in the knowledge about the property transactions of their clients. Subdivision consents and land use consents frequently impose obligations that impact on conveyancing aspects of the transaction. To provide a full service to clients an understanding of the resource management process is paramount.

Coupled with this, are changes happening at Land Information New Zealand. These changes that simplify documentation and integrate the role of the surveyor with the role of the lawyer. Until recently a lawyer completing a subdivision would wait for the surveyor to complete work, have the survey plan approved and for the Land Transfer Office to issue a requisition letter. That is no longer good enough.

The systems in place allow an earlier lodgement of documents with the Land Transfer Office. To provide your client with an excellent service you need to fully understand these systems. You need to be completely au fait with the documents required by the Land Transfer Office (rather than relying on the requisition letter) and you need to keep in touch with your client’s surveyor regarding progress of the plan developing.

This seminar attempts to provide you with the requisite overview of the process, and give you the expertise to provide clients with an excellent service on the subdivision of their property. By necessity it does not examine all variables. It is aimed at those with some conveyancing expertise who do not have a full grasp of the process from its beginning to its end. It raises questions as well as providing answers but aims to help you in the overall understanding of the various components of the subdivision.

Thanks are due to Anna Douglas, Murray Ward and Catherine Knight each of Hesketh Henry who assisted Debra Dorrington in the preparation of the paper. Acknowledgements are due also to Davis Ogilvie & Partners Ltd who provided some of the photographs for the seminar, and to Pual Davison of Christchurch who drew the plans.


Content outline

  • Legislation
  • First advice to clients
  • Drafting an agreement for the sale and purchase of real estate where the land is to be subdivided and title has not yet been issued
  • Dealing with the Council
  • Dealing with land information New Zealand
  • Documents for registration
  • Composite and unit titles
  • The future of subdivisions
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