Sort your titles now or you might regret it
Published August 2015
The value of additional titles on your farm should not be underestimated. The subdivision rules are always changing and I have recently been asked on more than one occasion "what will we be able to do in the future?" To that I reply, "very little, if the current trend continues".
Additional titles aren't obtained only for the purpose of selling to an outsider. They can be a major benefit even for adjusting boundaries with a neighbour - if you want to do it your way. Council is increasingly giving itself power to even control the way you do a simple boundary adjustment.
The savvy landowners have always taken advantage of the rules, subdividing when they can and reaping the benefits of a flexible title situation when they need it. Whether you are planning to retire on the block, settle a family member or take a punt on a new venture separate from the balance of your property interests, separate titles are a must.
Most Districts have changed their rules such that you can't have more than one house on a title now. Having additional titles resolves this issue giving you much more flexibility in the future.
Hardly a day goes by when we don't have to tell someone that the subdivision they want to do was outlawed recently. So the clear message is - subdivide and obtain the titles when you can, rather than be disappointed later on. Don't be concerned about having to pay rates on the additional titles over the years - there is a way around this as well.
A trend that we see growing, albeit cautiously, over time is that of transferable titles. This is already prevalent in the northern part of Waikato and Hauraki and the southern part of the Auckland City (ex Franklin District parts). It is also available in Waipa and the Western Bay of Plenty Districts. In this scenario you are entitled, under certain conditions, to transfer a title or 'right' between owners whose land is well separated across the district.
This could well cautiously spread to other districts in the future but it is clearly not favoured by some at present. However, this may be the way of the future and a valid reason to hold on to your titles if you can rather than sell out to lifestylers or neighbours now.
My advice to those who may want extra titles in the future is to utilise the current rules and don't hold out hope that things are going to get easier. They won't. If you don't want to hear that your opportunity has slipped away, feel free to give me a call and discuss your situation without delay.
By Brent Trail – Managing Director
Brent Trail, Managing Director of Surveying Services, specialises in resource consent applications for subdivisions across the Waikato, Coromandel and Bay of Plenty.
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