Subdivision in New Zealand 

Subdividing land in New Zealand involves splitting a property into multiple, legally distinct sections. This can be done for various reasons, like creating space for family or selling off a portion of your current property. The process is regulated by the Resource Management Act and requires approval from your local council.

Thomas Consultants can help you navigate zoning restrictions, infrastructure considerations, and potential costs.


Most common forms of subdivision:

Freehold/Fee Simple

Freehold is where you have absolute ownership to land, i.e. it is not shared. Fee simple is a type of freehold and is the highest and most common form of ownership in New Zealand.

Unit Title

This is common in a building development where there are multiple owners. A unit title subdivision creates individual titles to units (typically semi-detached or multi-storey) over an existing fee simple parcel of land. The units share in the common property eg: vehicle access, turning areas, lifts, stairs, and gardens. 

Cross Lease

Cross-leases are a common ownership structure, though considered somewhat outdated. In this arrangement, you co-own the land with other residents and lease your specific dwelling (flat). The lease agreement will detail exclusive use areas for your flat, as well as common areas shared by all residents.

Subdividing land and the Auckland Unitary Plan

The Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP) serves as the rulebook for subdivision and land development in the Auckland region.  It includes the rules around what land can be subdivided and developed, when that land can be developed, and how.


More opportunities to subdivide 

The current Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP) rules have created more opportunities to subdivide your land. Where most previous district plans stated how many lots or dwellings could be created on a site, the AUP allows for as many dwellings or lots on a site as physically feasible, as long as the quality of living for occupants is acceptable.

This means that a subdivision with a high quality residential design will achieve a higher number of lots than a site which is simply subdivided into vacant sections.


Our planning team will guide you through every step, from feasibility assessments to council approvals.