There are a number of ways to subdivide land including the creation of freehold, unit, crosslease and leasehold titles as well as boundary adjustments that require subdivision consent.

The common types of subdivision are:

  • Subdivision to create a freehold title
  • Subdivision to create a unit title
  • Subdivision to create a crosslease title
  • Subdivision to create a leasehold title
  • Boundary adjustments of a freehold titles
  • Updating of the buildings shown on a crosslease titles
  • Change of tenure (e.g. conversion of a crosslease title to a freehold title).

Freehold title subdivision

This is sometimes known as subdivision into fee-simple titles and is by far the most common type of subdivision. It is the simplest and least restrictive form of land ownership.

Unit title subdivision

This is sometimes wrongly referred to as strata title and is where the buildings or parts of a building and/or parts of the site have individual unit tiles while the remainder of the site (for example, the access) is owned in common by all the unit owners.

It is a requirement of the Unit Titles Act 1972 that a Body Corporate comprising the unit owners be created to manage the common land, insure the building and carry out other duties in accordance with the Body Corporate rules.

A unit title subdivision is often used to create separate ownerships within medium density housing developments, industrial developments and high-rise buildings.

Crosslease title subdivision

This is sometimes referred to as composite title because the title comprises a freehold element and a leasehold element.

The buildings shown on a crosslease title are often referred to as flats; this arises because the plan of subdivision is called a flats plan.

The concept of crosslease title is widely misunderstood. The owner of a crosslease title does not exclusively own the land associated with individual building or the buildings themselves. The land and buildings are owned in undivided shares by all the owners of buildings on the underlying freehold title. In the case where two buildings are erected on a single freehold title it would be quite common for the freehold to be owned in undivided half shares despite one building having more land with it than the other building. The exclusive use of the land with each building is usually covered by a land covenant. The extent of the covenanted land is defined on the flats plan. Where there is a common driveway serving both buildings the driveway is often called 'Common Land'.

The building(s) on a crosslease title are leased from all the owners of the freehold title upon which the buildings are erected. The leases normally run for 999 years. Therefore, it is important that the buildings are correctly shown on the title since any part of a building not shown on the title is not leased and remains in common ownership.

Leasehold title subdivision

This type of subdivision seldom arises but is necessary where part of the freehold title are to be leased for a term (including renewals) of more that 35 years.

Boundary adjustments between existing titles

The adjustment to the common boundary between existing freehold titles is commonly known as a boundary adjustment. Although no additional allotments will be created by the boundary adjustment it is still classified as a subdivision and requires subdivision consent from Council before you can commence.

Updating of the building outline on a crosslease title

Where additions are made to the footprint of the existing building(s) shown on a crosslease title or new buildings are added, for example, a free standing garage, the crosslease title will generally need to be updated to show that new footprint or building. This is commonly known as the updating of the flats plan. Any updating of a flats plan is classified as a subdivision and requires subdivision consent.

It is important to note that the building consent authorising the additions or new building does not automatically update the crosslease title.

Change of tenure

In some cases it is possible to convert from one type of tenure to another. Subdivision consent is required.

Rights of way

Before a new right of way can be created the approval of Council is required. This approval is under section 348 of the Local Government Act 1974. The approval will usually be subject to conditions to ensure that the right of way meets the rules of the City Plan and Council's Infrastructure Design Standard.