Subdividing?: Here’s what you need to know


Australian property owners regularly optimise their investment through subdivision. The increased value stemming from subdividing can never be underestimated. But any Aussie property owner should know that there are always numerous considerations before making the big division!

It’s never a straightforward cut-and-build situation. Therefore, we have put together this “must-know” for you to make the right start:

  • Zoning requirements

The first thing you need to consider is zoning requirements and local planning schemes. The best building lawyers will tell you that you cannot overlook your local council’s policies, as they could have an overriding impact on your ability to subdivide. These will detail the numerous requirements to which new lot owners must adhere. For example, there may be a minimum land size for subdivision to legally occur.

Prospective buyers must be aware of these influential factors. They will likely vary between councils so it is something that cannot be overlooked. It will be a deciding factor in the property’s potential size. It will also determine whether it is worth the investment.

What’s more, there are numerous council policies that include clauses regarding lot sizes and their site development potential. Like any administrative matter it’s the more you know the more capable you are. So, you should get in tune with the council’s requirements and contact a lawyer if you require assistance with any complex wording.

  • Additional hurdles

Next, it’s imperative that you consider other aspects in your property’s vicinity that may inhibit that subdivision process. You must create a feasibility report that can identify some unwanted findings. There may be amenities that, unfortunately, make building in a particular spot impossible. There could also be a range of site-specific restrictions, such as natural disaster risk. When this is present, the property may contain specific requirements regarding rebuild, another potential hurdle to your subdivision plans.

Finally, it is a good idea to look further than your local council’s policies. You should research council requirements regarding domestic construction. This includes requirements regarding property updates like extra fencing. This could change your project scope so it is a good idea to research it before you begin subdivision.  

  • Demand

Just because there are more buildings on a property doesn’t mean the return on investment increases. It is imperative that you research whether there is a demand for homes in the area. What is selling well in the area? Is there an excess of overpriced, under-bought townhouses in the area? Are the apartments simply staying on the market?

If so, then you’re probably looking to subdivide in an area that is already saturated with similar properties. It is important to consider whether this is really a smart investment at this time.

  • Easements

Outside parties may have permission to use your property for preselected reasons. This typically regards electricity lines running beneath the land which outside parties took out for guaranteed access if problems occur. If you are planning to subdivide then you must be aware of any pre-existing easements on your potential property.

The responsibility falls upon you to ensure that access is never inhibited should these third parties require access to their easement. Like other hurdles, this one can be expensive, so if you find that your property is subject to an easement then you must weigh up whether it is still the right investment for you.

And, once again, if you have any confusion regarding any of these pivotal matters, you should not hesitate to call your local building lawyers to clear up the confusion!