Land division and community division vary in popularity over time, but they remain attractive to many investors due to the greater returns that can be extracted from an initial investment. However, make some bad decisions and the process can be costly.
If you’re looking to develop property by subdividing, it’s important to understand the implications of different types of subdivisions and to make the best decisions for your site.
A Torrens title land division is the division of land into at least two allotments (separate land titles), which are held independently from one another. There are generally no shared facilities or infrastructure. This form of subdivision provides the owner with complete autonomy with their land.
A community division is the division of land into at least two lots and an area of common property, such as carparks, garden beds or common driveways, and is for shared use amongst the lot owners and insured by the Community Corporation. The boundaries of each community lot are defined by surveyed measurements and the buildings thereon are to be insured individually by each lot owner.
Community Strata Divisions
Unlike a community division, the boundaries of a lot within a community strata division are defined by the building on the land rather than surveyed land measurements, and are commonly associated with multilevel apartment buildings or commercial properties. The building itself forms part of the common property and is the responsibility of the lot owners (the Community Corporation) to maintain and insure.
A good investment?
Land Divisions and Community Divisions can be a complex process which take time and careful planning. The division process can be costly and frustrating if bad decisions are made. It’s important to engage professional advice from the outset, as some decisions can cause significant time delays or additional costs.
Some possible issues or bad decisions can include:
- Buying land with the intention to subdivide and then discovering you can’t due to council development planning regulations
- Discovering you can’t build the type of dwelling you intended due to significant easements restricting the land
- Buying a property whereby the encumbrance registered on the title prohibits any further subdivision
- Not allowing for the planning of easements in the early stages and needing to modify plans at a later stage
Whether you’re a developer, investor or a home owner, your conveyancer can advise you and work closely with you through the entire division process from the outset to ensure you plan appropriately and navigate any potential issues.
Land division – what’s involved?
As South Australia’s largest Conveyancing firm, we have a dedicated Land and Community Division team who have put together some tips about the preferred process to follow:
Do your planning
Prepare a simple plan of how you wish to divide the land. If you are wanting to create a Community division you will also need to include any common property on this plan.
Contact the relevant Council and enquire about their planning requirements to determine if your proposed division is possible.
Engage a Surveyor
A surveyor will carry out all of the necessary surveys to identify the boundaries and easements of the current land, and draw your proposed plan of division showing how the new Allotments/Lots will be positioned with the required annotations.
The surveyor will prepare the Development Application and lodge the proposed plan with the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP) for approval.
(If you have not yet chosen a surveyor, please contact our office and we can provide you with the names of surveyors that we deal with regularly).
The steps in the Development Application Assessment Process
We’ve outlined the steps in the Development Application Assessment process:
- The State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP) will forward the Application to the relevant Council, SA Water and any other Government body which may need to be consulted.
- Council will consider the Application to issue Planning Consent with or without conditions, or in some cases, a notice of refusal. An example of a common condition of an approval would be to demolish the existing structure/dwelling on site. The Council approval process can take 2-3 months.
- SA Water will also assess the application to determine the contribution amount and works required to provide each new Allotment/Lot with a sewer and water connection.
- Your surveyor will monitor the progress of the Application and advise when fees are required to be paid to each governing body.
- Once the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP), SA Water and Council’s conditions are satisfied and fees are paid, SCAP will issue the Certificate of Approval to the surveyor which will enable them to lodge the Division Plan with the Lands Titles Office for examination and approval. The surveyor will also advise your conveyancer of the Certificate of Approval which will allow them to progress with the Application for Deposit of a Plan of Division or Application for Community Division.
Your conveyancer and the land division process
The processes involved in a Land division, as compared to a Community division, differ more as they get to the Conveyancing stage, so we’ve outlined the different processes for the two different types.
A Torrens title land division is the division of land into at least two allotments, which are held independently of one another. There are generally no shared facilities or infrastructure.
A community title is the division of land into at least two lots and an area of common property.
Land Division – what’s involved?
We’ve outlined the steps involved in a land division:
- Upon advice from the surveyor that Certificate of Approval has been obtained, the Application document is prepared in accordance with the Land Division Plan and signed by the owner of the property. If there is a mortgage, encumbrance or caveat registered on the Title to the property, those relevant parties are also required to execute and consent to the Application document.
- Once executed by all parties, the Application is stamped (if required) and lodged at the Land Titles Office for examination and deposit.
- Upon the deposit of the Land Division Plan, the new Titles will be issued in accordance with the Land Division Plan.
Community Division – what’s involved?
We’ve outlined the steps involved in a community division:
- The Application document is prepared in accordance with the Community Division Plan and signed by the owner of the property. If there is a mortgage, encumbrance or caveat registered on the Title to the property, those relevant parties are also required to consent to the Application document.
- By-Laws are drafted and finalised in accordance with the Community Division.
- A Scheme Description may be required if the plan creates 7 or more Lots and will be prepared in accordance with the Council’s approval and endorsed by Council.
- Your conveyancer will engage a Land Valuer to prepare the statutory Lot Entitlement Sheet which must be lodged at the Lands Titles Office together with the Application.
- The fully executed Application is stamped and lodged at the Land Titles Office for examination and deposit.
- Upon the deposit of the Community Division Plan, the new Titles will be issued in accordance with the Plan. Your conveyancer will also provide you with a Common Seal for the Community Corporation and Minute Book to assist with holding future Community Corporation meetings with all Lot owners.
Working with you
As South Australia’s largest Conveyancing firm, our specialist Land and Community Division team are experienced in undertaking complex divisional-related conveyancing work, including land and community divisions, amalgamations, and easement transactions for developers, investors and home owners.
Contact Eckermann Conveyancers for further details and information.