Merely acquiring properties and renting them out is a thing of the past – now, more people are interested in maximising the value of their residential land. Erecting two or more dwellings on their land and selling or renting them out is slowly becoming a popular development project in Australia.
However, in Victoria, one cannot simply build two or more homes on their land, especially on a single lot of land. This process – known as a land subdivision – is regulated through the Victorian Planning System to ensure the land is used and developed in a sustainable manner, taking into account a variety of environmental, social, and economical factors.
Hence, you need to obtain the necessary approval from your local council in order to subdivide your land legally. The application process – just like a town planning application – can be complex and confusing, especially if it is your maiden attempt.
So, if you are a first-timer thinking of subdividing your land and have concerns about the land subdivision process in Melbourne, here is what you need to know.
What is a land subdivision?
As mentioned, land subdivision is the process of dividing a large plot of land into smaller lots or land titles. The types of land subdivision vary according to the sort of development project you undertake; however, they generally include:
- Subdivision of land, including buildings and airspace.
- Consolidation of land.
- The creation, variation, or removal of an easement or restriction.
- The creation of common property and some dealings with common property.
Plan of Subdivision
The Victorian Planning System requires a developer to have a Plan of Subdivision – which is a document that is to be presented to the local council for approval – before beginning your land subdivision project.
There are two ways to apply for this:
- Through an application for a joint planning permit and certification.
- By applying for a planning permit then followed by certification.
Land subdivision process
1. Conduct a title search
You need to determine if you are allowed to subdivide your land and you can do this by checking your land deed, also known as a “certificate of title”. Although this is usually done prior to a property purchase, you can also search for a copy on the Landata website or reach out to your local council’s planning department or a licensed land surveyor for assistance.
The latest copy of the title and plan diagram of your land is required for initial discussions with a land surveyor and the local council. At this stage, you will be notified if there are any restrictions imposed on your land that may prevent you from subdividing and developing it. This includes factors such as size as well as local council zoning rules that may affect your application.
2. Consult a licensed land surveyor
If you have not reached out to a land surveyor in the previous step, this is where you will need to do so. A licensed land surveyor is needed to survey your land and create a plan for the land subdivision.
The surveyor is also responsible for applying for a subdivision permit and finalising the proposal and design of the land subdivision. The surveyor will also liaise with your local council and guide you through the application process accordingly to ensure your application meets the council’s requirements and your application gets approved promptly.
3. Obtain approval and certification
Once your land surveyor has prepared the plan, it needs to be submitted to your local council for approval and certification. The council will refer the application to relevant authorities and ensure relevant requirements have been met.
Authorities such as VicRoads, water authority, gas, electricity, and phone bodies, may impose certain requirements on your subdivision application that you must fulfil in order to receive a certificate of compliance which authorises the creation of new titles for each lot on your land.
Depending on whether requirements are met, the council will either approve your proposal by issuing a Statement of Compliance or reject it completely.
4. Register Plan of Subdivision
After obtaining approval from the local council and relevant authorities, your Plan of Subdivision is ready to be registered at Land Use Victoria for the creation of new titles for each lot on your land. For this part, you may need to consult a town planning consultant as it involves a lot of detailed paperwork.
Once your Plan of Subdivision is registered, the relevant parties will receive their Certificate(s) of Title. Now, you finally can start your land subdivision project!
Land subdivision process timeframe
The entire process from conducting a title search and engaging a land surveyor, to obtaining a council certification is estimated to take at least a minimum of nine months and can go up to a year or a year and a half.
It is important to take note of this timeframe so that you plan and schedule your project accordingly and avoid wasting your time and money. Sometimes the delay in obtaining a council certification and registering your Plan of Subdivision can be longer due to minor errors, especially if you do not engage a professional land surveyor to help you through the process.
Benefits of land subdivision
- Gain a substantial profit by selling off a part of your land.
- It increases your property value.
- The commercialisation of your property gets easier.
- Certain blocks of land can be used for the construction of new buildings.
- Some of the blocks can be used for rental income.
Seek professional assistance
As illustrated, the land subdivision process can get complicated as there are many authorities involved and a variety of legal and technical requirements that need to be fulfilled. Hence, it is recommended that you engage a town planning consultant to assist you through this process.
With the assistance of professional town planning consultants in Melbourne, you can be assured a seamless and efficient process. The right town planning consultants will not only provide you with expert advice on whether your land is fit to subdivide but also save you the stress of going through the approval process alone!