A surveyor is often asked some tricky questions. A common question we face is “Can I sell part of my land?”
To answer this question, first you must establish whether your land consists of more than one parcel, or lot and DP (Deposited Plan). Online tools such as the SIX Viewer or even Google Maps will give you an indication of whether your land consists of more than one parcel. Your local Council can also help, or you can ask a registered surveyor for assistance.
Often, land is sold in holdings, consisting of more than one lot. In rural areas, holdings can consist of many individual portions, or lots and DP’s. In urban areas, it is relatively common to see buildings erected over the boundary between different parcels of land. If there is a building upon two parcels of land, selling one parcel will most likely prove problematic. In such cases, it may be possible to subdivide or adjust boundaries.
In legal terms, you can sell any individual parcel of land. The practicality of this must be considered, however. Access, both legal and physical, to each parcel must be retained. It may be that all individual parcels must have connections to services such as power, water, sewer and telecommunications. It is usually worth having the boundaries of the land identified and the boundaries marked by a registered surveyor to ensure that the vendor is selling what is intended and that the purchaser is buying what is intended.
If your land does not consist of more than one parcel but you still wish to sell part of the land, the next option is to subdivide. The subdivision process creates new lots from the existing land. Subdivision will require the consent of the local Council. Subdivision rules vary between different local government areas and different land use planning zones. There are many factors to consider with subdivision proposals including the Zoning of the land, Minimum Lot Size, services, fencing, access – the list goes on. If you want to sell part of your land and must subdivide to do so, speak to a registered surveyor who can assist.
If your land does not consist of more than one parcel and you are selling land to an adjoining neighbour, you may be able to do a boundary adjustment. A boundary adjustment is a form of subdivision, often requiring the consent of the local Council. A boundary adjustment will change the boundary between two (or more) parcels of land, with the end result being the same number of lots or less at the completion of the process. Minor boundary adjustments may be exempt development under State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008, meaning that a full development application to the local Council may not be required. If a boundary adjustment is not considered to be “minor”, the process becomes the same as a normal subdivision, requiring preparation of a statement of environmental effects and other documents for assessment by the local Council.
If you would like to sell a part of a building, you will need to subdivide the building by a process known as Strata Subdivision. In brief, a Strata Subdivision creates lots inside a building, bounded by the physical structure. The owners of lots in a Strata scheme actually own the cubic space inside the building, while the building itself is owned and maintained by the owners corporation. The owner of each lot has a share in the ownership corporation, based on the unit entitlement for each lot. Unit entitlements are based on the relative value of each unit in the scheme. Please see our blog on Strata Subdivision for more information.
It is often possible to sell part of your land, however each individual case will be slightly different. If you have any queries, contact Doherty Smith & Associates Consulting Surveyors and we will assist.
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Surveying and Spatial Information Act 2002