Cross-lease to Fee-simple

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Changing from Cross-lease to fee-simple

So you are thinking about converting your property from a cross-lease to a fee-simple title? Congratulations – this is one of the best things you could do in respect of your property.

A cross-lease title simply isn’t as good a title as a fee-simple title, because your neighbour is a co-owner of your land, and you need your neighbour’s permission for things that a fee-simple owner wouldn’t. For example, any alterations to the property – even something as simple as changing a window to a French door – could require your neighbour’s consent. If your neighbour refuses to consent, and you go ahead, you may be required to take your alterations down (worst case scenario).

​Cross-lease properties are often the subject of neighbour disputes, and the legal process involved in resolving any dispute is not easy and can be very expensive. There is historically a value discount applied to cross-lease properties (we have the evidence to prove it!) – a fee-simple property is frequently worth more, and is easier to sell. But there is also a greater benefit than just money: the ability to make your home the way you want it, without needing your neighbour’s consent, and without the ongoing costs of needing to update the Flats Plan on your title after each alteration.

What you need to know

About changing from cross-lease to fee-simple tenure.

CONCENT goodtitle


Changing to fee-simple tenure is a subdivision process, so requires a subdivision consent from Council.

Agreement GoodTitle


In order for this to proceed, all property owners on the cross-lease need to be in agreement, disregarding who pays for it.

Alterations GoodTitle


Changing to fee-simple gives you freedom and the right to do what you want with your property without neighbors consent

Value GoodTitle


Property is likely to increase in value on completion of the process (depending on location etc).

Ownership GoodTitle


Fee-simple tenure is the best form of tenure you can have in New Zealand

Time frame GoodTitle


This is a 6-8 month process to complete.

What is involved To convert from cross-lease to fee-simple?

The process is complex, generally far too complex for people to manage themselves. It involves a full subdivision consent application which needs to be approved by the council, and a full legal subdivision of the property, including a full survey of the property including the placement of pegs etc. that needs to be approved by LINZ. All properties on the cross-lease must be accounted for in the subdivision and all the owners are required to sign the final documents.

Cross-lease to fee-simple process

This process has been created to show you the steps involved in converting from cross-lease to fee-simple. It should be used as a guide only.

This process takes between 6-8 months to complete.

STAGE1 GoodTitle


  • A lawyer investigates titles and existing leases.
  • CCTV Inspection by independent drainage company
  • Engineer reviews CCTV + report
  • Quotes for hydro clean/repairs
  • Work done and new CCTV + report prepared
STAGE2 GoodTitle


  • Site measure up
  • Levels (where required)
  • Preparation of scheme plan
STAGE3 GoodTitle


  • Scheme plan to client for approval
  • Lawyer reviews scheme plan and prepares initial easements.
STAGE4 GoodTitle


  • Preparation of council application
  • Council application submitted
  • Council consent approved and sent to the client


  • Preparation of council application
  • Council application submitted
  • Council consent approved and sent to the client
STAGE6 GoodTitle


  • Create legal survey plan (CSD - Cadastral Survey Dataset)
STAGE7 GoodTitle


  • The plan proceeds through the internal QA process
  • Requests 223 Certificate once all required easements are confirmed.
STAGE8 GoodTitle


  • Lodge plan with LINZ (Land Information New Zealand)
  • Request 224 Certificate
  • Survus work is now completed
STAGE9 GoodTitle


  • The lawyer seeks consent from your mortgagee for the change.
  • You & your neighbors sign new paperwork with a lawyer
  • Lawyer requests new titles
  • New titles issued

Frequently asked questions

Fee simple is what people think of as a freehold title – you own the land totally and (subject to planning restrictions) can do what you like on it without needing your neighbor’s permission.

Cross lease titles were invented in the early 1960s to get around subdivision rules. The neighbors jointly own all the land but lease the buildings to each other. The North Shore has a very high proportion of cross lease titles, which aren’t limited to townhouses or flats – they can be separate independent houses.

We have helped many clients with cross lease properties, we can help you too.

Our knowledgeable team is ready to answer any questions you have about your cross lease.

17 Esmonde Road, Takapuna, Auckland 0622

4 Meadow Street, Papanui,
Christchurch 8052


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