The Lawyer’s Role in Subdivisions
If you currently have one or more parcels of land that you would like reconfigured, this can be done by a process referred to as subdivision or consolidation (but we will simply use “subdivision”). Once the plan of subdivision is registered at Land Titles Office, the new parcel or parcels of land can be dealt with separately and will have their own new titles.
To obtain registration of the Plan of Subdivision, there are a number of steps involved.
Firstly, you must determine if the land can be subdivided. We will work closely with your surveyor and/or planner around this or, if you have not yet engaged such expertise, we may be able to refer you.
Before you start the subdivision process, you need to look for “blanket” restrictions such as those contained within a covenant in the prior transfer of land or plan of subdivision.
Further, all land in Victoria is impacted by planning schemes (to control land use) and these will very often impact your ability to subdivide. Your planner or surveyor will advise about such matters and will take up the process with the responsible authority, typically being your local government council. Rarely are such matters black and white and issues of interpretation, objections from neighbours and political considerations will all come to the fore. Council may or may not issue a planning permit and, if they do, it may be on conditions you find unsatisfactory. If matters cannot be sorted with council, you may consider a trip to VCAT.
Your surveyor and planner will, as noted, work with you to obtain the necessary planning permit and your surveyor will draft the proposed plan of subdivision.
Once a permit is obtained, either with or without a visit to VCAT, the plan of subdivision will be certified by council and lodged with the relevant authorities (such as VicRoads, Telstra water, gas and electricity authorities) in order that such authorities can review the plans and, if required, place conditions on the Plan of Subdivision that must be complied with in order to have the new titles registered. In short, the authorities will address the essential logistics of creating new titles with all of the services required by the planning permit or otherwise.
Once all authorities are satisfied, a Statement of Compliance will be issued by council and we will attend to lodging the plan of subdivision with Land Titles Office. If the property is mortgaged, we will work with you to obtain the consent of your mortgagee and to have the title made available. If the title is unencumbered, you will need to provide us with the title or control of it.
If there are any requisitions (requests by the Land Titles Office to explain, modify or change an item within the Plan of Subdivision or submitted title documents), we will make the necessary arrangements to have this rectified or explained as soon as possible.
What are the fees involved in this process?
In order to have the Plan of Subdivision registered, there are several fees that need to be paid:
Mortgagee consent fees - $300 - $400;
Land Titles Office Registration Fee - these fees are specific to your subdivision. Factors that contribute to the fee are the:
number of lots being created; and
number of Owners Corporation Rules being created (if any).
Once we have a better understanding of your project, we will be able to estimate the fees for you;
Our professional fees; and
Required searches and certificates - the fees for such documents vary from file to file.
How is the Plan of Subdivision lodged?
We are SPEAR Registered. SPEAR is an industry-specific platform that “allows users to process planning permits and subdivision applications online”. Whilst not all lawyers are SPEAR registered, we are and, as a registered lodging party, we have direct access to your individual “workspace” and can use this platform to liaise with your surveyor. Within this workspace, we can keep a close eye on the status of your application as it progresses through the various stages with the referral authorities and your surveyor.
Once the Plan of Subdivision is released to us for lodgement, we lodge the documents through SPEAR directly to Land Titles Office. This is beneficial as all documentation is verified and confirmed before reaching the assessor at the Titles Office.
Need advice on your matter?
ASAP Lawyers regularly accept instructions to advise and lodge Plans of Subdivision.
Contact us on 03 9450 9400 to make an appointment for a consultation.