Subdivide your lot to Release Your Equity

Subdivision is a popular method of releasing the financial equity in your property. This article will break down the steps for you, explain the basics of subdivision as well as what you need to be aware of and the key features of the typical subdivision layouts. 

Subdivision Process 

Subdivision involves designing a development layout for your property that meets your local council’s town planning policy framework, and also complies with the regulations governing Victorian subdivision, commonly known as ResCode. The local regulations vary from Council to council meaning that a subdivision proposal in the Monash or Boroondara Council area may not receive support in neighbouring Whitehorse Council or nearby Banyule Council or Glen Eira Council. It is important to engage a professional with local experience before commencing to avoid common pitfalls.

There is no one Council that is more ‘difficult’ to work with than another to get a subdivision approved but it is true to say that the processes vary between each so you should engage a professional firm with local experience and relationships. You can read some of our success stories by cicking here or visting our subdivision section. Once we have obtained subdivision consent from your local council we must then connect the newly created block(s) to the sewer, electric and water infrastructure.

Typical Subdivision Lot Layouts

Depending on the lot arrange of the property, there are three common layouts for two dwelling subdivisions.

Existing Dwelling with One New Dwelling

Typical Lot Arrangement with one existing dwelling at the front of the property with space to subdivide and develop at the back of the property. Both dwellings will be serviced by one single existing accessway. 

Key Point 1:

Rear private open spaces are required for both existing and new dwelling. It is important to confirm the required size with the local council and local planning scheme.

Key Point 2:

Proposed subdivision line will be drawn on the edge of both dwellings and a common drive way will be created.

Key Point 3:

New double garages for each dwelling. State Planning Scheme typically require minimum of 2 car spaces per 3 bedroom dwelling.

Key Point 4:

Common driveway will require minimum of 75 square metres to allow for vehicle turning circles.

Key Point 5:

Driveway is required by the planning scheme to be 3 metres wide at minimum.

Key Point 6:

It is recommended to have 500mm – 1 metre landscape buffers on either side of the driveway. This will help maintain the neighbourhood characteristic and is widely accepted by local councils

Key Point 7:

Street trees, lights, local authority services may impact the proposed crossover location. Confirm relocation of service may be required at developer’s expense during permit application process. 

Two New Dwellings Side by Side

Some designs consist of two new dwellings side by side with both dwellings having their own street frontage and direct access to the road from garage. New accessways will be required and each dwelling will have its own private driveway.

Key Point 1:

Rear private open space are required for both dwellings to comply with ResCode requirements. It is important to confirm the required size with the local council and local planning scheme.

Key Point 2:

Proposed subdivision line will be drawn in the middle of the dwellings, usually a single solid wall.

Key Point 3:

New Single garage plus one tandem car space for each dwelling. State Planning Scheme typically require minimum of 2 car spaces per 3 bedroom dwelling.

Key Point 4:

The design will propose slight variation to front and rear setback to both dwellings. The aim is to create its own identity for each dwelling and avoid mirrored designs.

Key Point 5:

Driveways are required by the planning scheme to be 3 metres wide at minimum.

Key Point 6:

It is recommended to have 500mm – 1 metre landscape buffers on either side of the driveway. This will help maintain the neighbourhood character. 

Key Point 7:

Street trees, lights, local authority services may impact the proposed crossover location. Confirm relocation of service may be required at developer’s expense during permit application process.

Key Point 8:

First floor takes shape of "wedding cake" design to comply with local planning scheme and ResCode requirements.

Corner Lot with One New Dwelling on the Side

A major advantage of a corner block is that each dwelling will have greater sense of privacy and identity. Each dwelling will have its owndriveway access points and both dwellings remain separated from each other. Corner sites are often refered to as the easiest type of subdivisions for this reason. 

Key Point 1:

Rear and side private open spaces are required for both dwellings to comply with ResCode requirements. It is important to confirm the required size with the local council and local planning scheme.

Key Point 2:

Proposed subdivision line will be drawn in the middle of the original lot, usually in between the garages of the dwellings

Key Point 3:

New double garage for new dwelling. State Planning Scheme typically require minimum of 2 car spaces per 3 bedroom dwelling.

Key Point 4:

New single garage plus a tandem car space for existing dwelling. Requirement of minimum 2 car spaces per 3 bedroom dwelling remains applicable to existing dwelling.

Key Point 5:

Front setback to compliant with ResCode and confirm with local council if there are any overlay controls. 

Key Point 6:

It is recommended to have 500mm – 1 metre landscape buffers on either side of the driveway. This will help maintain the neighbourhood character.

Key Point 7:

Street trees, lights, local authority services may impact the proposed crossover location. Confirm relocation of service may be required at developer’s expense during permit application process. 

What happens after Council approve a planning permit for subdivision? 

As the owner who benefits from the value of a newly created block of land it is important that you be aware that you must pay to connect the newly created block(s) to sewer, electricity and water infrastructure prior to the sale of the land. This connection process and the cost cannot be passed to a purchaser of a new block and the connection process must be completed before the new title for the block can be released. Our experts have completed this connection process on behalf of our clients in a number of metropolitan suburbs. We will ensure your connections and processed in an efficient manner which will save you time in completing the project.

Meeting Conditions on your Planning Permit

When all of the conditions of your council-issued planning approval are met, we can then obtain property titles for the newly created lot(s). Titles cannot be obtained until all conditions of your Council approval are met. The conditions on your Council approval will vary from Council to Council but our team know the conditions of Monash Council, Boroondara Council, Whitehorse Council, Banyule Council and Glen Eira Council intimately and can tell you exactly what is required to obtain the titles for sale. On obtaining titles this land can then be sold to a new owner or held by the current owner for investment purposes.

Get Assistance with Subdivision Planning Approval

There are various elements to be considered when subdividing land or buildings. These include:

  • Real estate prices in your local area to determine whether the project will be profitable;
  • Knowing the associated application costs of the Council and the infrastructure connection when completing a subdivision;
  • An effective development layout so that the maximum value of the land is achieved;
  • Being aware of any existing site features, such as trees and easements, which may restrict the subdivision potential of the land. 

Remember, you can’t legally sell each of the new lots (even off the plan) in Victoria until the title for the new lot is released to your lawyer or conveyancer. To get the title released it is not enough to merely get your subdivision approved, you must then meet all of the conditions attached to that approval.  If any one of the conditions attached to the approval of the subdivision is not met your title will not be released and legally there will be no sale allowed.

Ensure you understand each of the conditions attached to your approved subdivision and get on with meeting the conditions as soon as the approval is issued. This is extremely important if you have a buyer lined up subject to the title being released because the longer they have to wait for the title the greater the risk they will pull out of the arrangement.

One tip in closing is to make sure to complete the subdivision within the time limits. An approved subdivision does not run indefinitely on the site so make sure to complete the project within the time frame on the planning permit to avoid having to reapply and pay the fees again.

Our team has the vision, creativity and demonstrated industry experience to exceed your expectations and deliver a fantastic return on your investment. Take the stress out of your subdivision project by letting our experts complete the project efficiently and successfully.

Sophie Thomas works in our Business Support group and has a very strong career background in marketing for business' and customer service. She has very well developed negotiation skills which assist our client's in getting favourable outcomes from other stakeholders. Sophie has previous experience working in local government in her native home in the UK and has a very well developed understanding of the inner workings of local councils.