Surveying Services - The Degree of Difference

Value in multiple titles

Having your farm in several titles allows you the flexibility to develop or restructure.

Published July 2017

As Councils around the region tighten their subdivision rules, the value of holding multiple titles comes to the fore. What might have been considered a routine subdivision a few years ago might now effectively be prohibited.

Although, under the Resource Management Act, very few activities are actually 'prohibited' they effectively can be by virtue of the challenging and costly process that one has to navigate in order to seek approval.

Councils can be very protective of their District Plan Subdivision Rules, often making it very hard for people to apply for activities that are not specifically allowed under their rules. Activities that don't fit exactly with the rules are termed 'non complying' and face a more strenuous process. Whether you are a forward thinking landowner who has taken advantage of the rules over the years and created additional titles as the rules have allowed it or perhaps you purchased adjoining land that gave you additional titles, you are now in a commanding position compared to others.

Most District Plans still allow you to adjust boundaries between titles, change the size and position of titles, and sometimes even move them completely. In this region Western Bay of Plenty, Waipa District and the old Franklin part of Waikato District all allow subdivision rights to be transferred between properties under different ownership. The ability to 'sell a title' or 'subdivision right' is created by amalgamating existing titles together or sometimes by protecting ecological or other features of value to the community on the donor property. This can provide a source of capital for the donor whilst allowing someone that wouldn't have normally qualified to subdivide.

Landowners who have more than one dwelling on their property often have an opportunity to subdivide a lifestyle block off containing the surplus house. This situation often comes about when purchasing a neighbouring farm.

With District Plan rules constantly changing, landowners should keep abreast of the changes and take advantage of any opportunities that present themselves. These opportunities could increase your chances of controlling your destiny should your operational requirements change in the future. In my view, subdivision will only get harder as time moves on.

If you are planning your future and wish to clarify any subdivision or boundary adjustment issues, feel free to give me a call. I am happy to discuss the situation with you to see if it is worth pursuing.

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.
For further information call 07 838 1571 or email

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