Subdividing a minor dwelling

Want to create a separate title for your minor unit? We can help with that.

Subdividing a minor dwelling from your main property

Under the current Unitary Plan, subdivision of a minor unit is defined as a ‘prohibited activity’, largely due to the fact that when most of them were built, there were minimum area requirements for principal dwellings on a site. However, in most zones, it is possible to create separate titles for the units, utilising provisions elsewhere in the Unitary Plan to achieve this.

There are extra steps in this process compared to a standard change of tenure, namely we have to undertake a land use consent to convert the minor dwelling to a principal dwelling, and then a subdivision of the two dwellings becomes more straightforward. Council will require us to show that the minor unit complies with all rules and site standards of the zone you’re in, such as outdoor living space, outlook etc., or cover off any non-compliances with a resource consent. Once the minor dwelling is established as a principal dwelling, general subdivision rules will apply.

With a minor dwelling subdivision, in most cases only a portion of the development contributions will have been charged by Council when it was built, and in most cases, Council will require a top-up of these contributions based on todays contribution rates. We can find this information out for you and advise as part of the fee proposal process.

We will need to investigate your properties’ certificate of title for any interests registered on it (ie. encumbrances that may prohibit such a change/development), and then check out the zoning rules in your area. We’ll also need to check out the servicing – you’ll need a separate water meter for the unit as well as your principal dwelling, and separate power supply and metering. The drainage services do not need to be separate, but as with our usual change of tenure process, we will need to conduct CCTV investigations to ensure the stormwater and sewer lines are all in good order, and to confirm the location of these. If they require any repairs, or cleaning, this will need to be completed and new CCTV undertaken before we can move ahead with council applications.’

Changes to the Unitary Plan mid - late 2022 will likely change this provision again, however in the meantime there are solutions for this type of subdivision in most zones currently.

What you need to know

About Minor Unit Subdivision

CONCENT goodtitle


Extra steps in the process means you’ll need a land use consent, and then a subdivision consent, from council

Value GoodTitle


You’ll be creating a new freehold title and a saleable principal dwelling, the value will increase dramatically

Time frame GoodTitle


This process can take between 10-12 months to complete

Minor Dwelling Subdivision Estimated Timeline


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Step 1

  • CCTV Inspection underway
  • Initial survey site visit
  • Engineer reviews CCTV + report
  • Quotes for hydro clean/repairs
  • Work done and new CCTV + report prepared

Estimated Timeframe

Approx. 6 - 12 weeks
(subject to repairs)



Step 2

  • Investigation of title, preparation of owners’ agreement,
    preparation of easements
  • Site measure up and preparation of scheme plan
  • Scheme plan to client for approval
  • Prepare subdivision and land use applications for council

Estimated Timeframe

Approx. 8 - 10 weeks


Step 3

  • Council application submitted
  • Council consent approved and sent to client and lawyer
  • Lawyer submits council consent to banks for mortgagee consent*

Estimated Timeframe

Approx. 6 - 10 weeks*

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Step 4

  • Pre calculations in office
  • Surveyor goes onsite to peg new boundaries
  • Further office calculations
  • Creation of legal survey plan, (CSD - Cadastral Survey Dataset)

Estimated Timeframe

Approx. 8 - 10 weeks

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Step 5

  • Plan proceeds through internal QA process
  • Requests 223 Certificate once all required easements are confirmed.
  • Lawyer prepares all paperwork for signing by your and your neighbours*

Estimated Timeframe

Approx. 3 - 6 weeks*

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Step 6

  • Lodge plan with LINZ (Land Information New Zealand)
  • Obtain LINZ approval as to survey
  • Request and obtain 224 Certificate from council
  • Survus work is now completed

Estimated Timeframe

Approx. 8 - 12 weeks


Step 7

  • Solicitor’s certificate sent to banks
  • Lodgement of dealing at LINZ containing paperwork for new titles
  • LINZ processes dealing*
  • New titles issued

Estimated Timeframe

Approx. 4 weeks*


  • The timeframes given are subject to being able to access the site, the client’s timeframes for response, and bank and LINZ timeframes.
  • The above timeframes reflect standard / statutory timeframes. Currently we are finding that councils, banks and LINZ are taking up to 4 times longer than their usual timeframes to process transactions.

17 Esmonde Road, Takapuna, Auckland 0622

4 Meadow Street, Papanui,
Christchurch 8052


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