Subdividing your block of land is the best way to maximise its value and kickstart your next development project. While subdivisions come with serious planning restrictions, a professional cadastral surveyor Brisbane can help you navigate the specifics and ensure your project is delivered on time. If you’re an investor, developer or simply a homeowner looking to unlock the potential of your land, this article will guide you through the process of subdividing your block.
What is Subdivision?
Subdivision is the process of turning one property title into multiple, separate property titles. This is commonly done when building apartments, townhouses and commercial buildings that will accept multiple tenants. Subdividing a block allows you to dramatically increase the value of the land, and it means each title can be bought, sold, developed or rented individually. This affords a large degree of flexibility in how you use your land and it can provide an instant boost to equity.
There are three main options when it comes to subdivision:
- Torrens title – A torrens title conveys sole ownership of the land and any structures on it. Most types of properties (such as freestanding homes) are subject to torrens titles. Large blocks of land may undergo a torrens subdivision, especially if you plan on turning one piece of land into two or more individual homes.
- Strata title – A strata title separates one block of land into individual allotments that share common property (like driveways and foyers). Each allotment can be bought, sold, rented or developed individually. This is the most common type of subdivision for units and townhouses.
- Community title – Community title schemes offer a blend of strata and torrens titles. Similar to a strata title, community titles create separate allotments that share common spaces. However, each community title can be built or developed individually, similar to a torrens title.
Is My Land Eligible for Subdivision?
Torrens and strata subdivision projects can have a major impact on the surrounding properties. Increasing the number of titles in a neighbourhood can increase traffic, create noise, disturb neighbours and affect the council’s plans for the area. For that reason, subdivisions are subject to limitations such as:
- Minimum block size
- Minimum block frontages
- Road and infrastructure access
- Access to utilities
- Easements, covenants and restrictions on the land
- Heritage and character restrictions
- Protected vegetation laws
- Zoning restrictions
- The dimensions and layout of the property
The minimum requirements for subdividing your block of land are set out by your local council. It’s important to note that while council provides minimum standards, each application is assessed individually, and you may need to meet more stringent requirements depending on your plans for the block.
How to Subdivide Your Block of Land
Land subdivision can be an involved process, and it may take 3-6 months to complete, depending on how busy your local authority is. You need to check with your city council to find out the exact process. In most localities you need to:
- Review regulations in your area – Before you spend any money on surveys and town planners, you should use the tools provided by your local council to assess whether your property is eligible for subdivision. Most city councils provide zoning information and planning overlays for free. These can give you an idea of restrictions in your area.
- Order a professional survey – All subdivision projects require you to engage a professional cadastral surveyor Brisbane. Professional surveyors will assess your block to locate and mark the exact corners, boundaries and features on the land. This is then translated into a planning document that can be used to support your development.
- Submit a development application – In most cities you will need to submit a development application to your planning authority. The development application typically needs to include an up to date survey, your plans for the site and it may also require research about the effect of your development on the surrounding properties.
- Meet development conditions – The planning authority will accept or deny your application, depending on whether it meets their requirements. Accepted developments typically come with conditions that need to be met before the new titles can be issued. These conditions include things like running utilities to each titled piece of land.
- Receive your new titles – Finally, you can contact your state title authority to sign off on the process and issue your new titles. You are then free to buy, sell, develop or rent each title individually.