Taking advantage of the Auckland Unitary Plan: November 2018

You’ve heard all about how the AUP is great for property owners. Today we are going enlighten you on just how some of you can take advantage! We’re discussing subdivision around an existing minor housing unit (MHU). If you currently have a minor dwelling on your property and you’re not located in the Single House Zone, this could be for you.

If you’re in either the Mixed Housing Suburban or Mixed Housing Urban zone there is a good chance you can subdivide around your unit and have two fee simple titles. This will add value to your property and allow you to sell each lot off individually. The reason this is now possible is because the rules have changed. The Auckland Unitary Plan’s goal is to increase housing stock in Auckland. One way they’re wanting to do this is to have more compact and dense neighbourhoods. Which is achieved by subdivision of land.


Subdivision around your minor unit would give you the opportunity to sell off the minor dwelling from your house or vice versa. This is a fantastic option if you currently don’t have anyone living in your minor unit or if you want to raise some capital.

This could also be a good option if you’re moving towards retirement it want to knock off an extra chunk of that mortgage! You could even live in the minor and sell the main house!


It’s possible to do this under the “subdivision around existing buildings and development” provision of the Subdivision – Urban chapter. Consent is required as this is a restricted discretionary activity. This means that under the AUP your development is a low to medium risk development. Council will assess your application against a list of criteria you must meet. If you meet these criteria it is very unlikely that your application will be refused, however Council do have the power to impose conditions on your consent.

We can work through these with you to ensure that you’re not signing up to anything that is overly restrictive or unreasonable.

We suggest the following process to gain resource consent for subdivision:

1. Establish the existing situation

Prior to beginning this process, we would undertake a property appraisal to establish what exactly can be done with your property and what extras we may need to do to make it sub-dividable.

A few non-negotiable features your property must have, include adequate fire rating, separated utility connections and legally established dwellings.

If your minor unit is attached to your main dwelling, the wall the separated these two building would have to be fire rated to today’s standard. Secondly many utility connections (water, stormwater, wastewater, power etc), in properties that were previously under the Waitakere Plan will already have separated connections. But there will be properties where this is not the case. For these properties, separating the connections will be an extra step that will need to be taken to achieve resource consent for subdivision. While this isn’t a deal breaker, and is very seriously possible it is another consideration of the process.

Network Connections diagram

And lastly, Council will require you to produce evidence that the second dwelling has been legally established. The easiest way to know this (if you didn’t establish the dwelling yourself) is to order a property file from Auckland Council. You should then be able to locate the decision notice and plans for the resource consent that authorised the second dwelling.

Once you are confident that you can or do achieve these features we can then continue with the subdivision!

2. Survey the Site

You’ll need to get a survey plan of the site. This is so Council can see the location of the existing buildings, and to demonstrate that the utility network connections (water, stormwater, wastewater, power etc) are separated as per above.  We can also show where the small private connections link in with the public services.

3. Prepare Scheme Plan

The next step is to engage a surveyor to devise a proposed scheme plan. This is the plan that will  show proposed ‘Lot 1’ and proposed ‘Lot 2’. Basically drawing up where you want your property to be divided. This scheme plan will need to show general compliance with the standards of your zone.

These include:

  • Maximum building coverage
  • Maximum impervious coverage
  • Minimum landscaped area
  • Yard setbacks
  • Outlook space
  • Outdoor living space
  • Daylight
  • Minimum driveway width

The survey plan must also show all required easements for access (ROW), network utility services (water, electricity and comms, drainage – private and public).

Please note that there is no minimum site size required in the MHU and MHS zones when subdividing around an existing dwelling.

4 . Prepare a Planning Assessment and Lodge

Once the above information has been collated, we can produce a planning assessment, also known as an ‘AEE’. This assessment covers off any potential environmental effects that can occur from the subdivision.

Council view this type of resource consent as a low to medium risk development, therefore they are reasonably straightforward. However, if issues such as combined connections, fire rating or a lack of consent for existing dwellings arise then the process can be a little trickier.

The best thing to do is to find out if any of these things are going to be an issue. Once you know that, then the rest can be very straight forward.

5 – Respond to Any Requests for Additional Information

Council will typically respond to any resource consent applications with a request for additional information, also known as a ‘Section 92 letter’. With input from other specialists (when relevant and required), we respond to this request. Once all ‘S92’ matters have been resolved, Council will issue a decision. This decision will also include conditions that the subdivision must comply with.

Larry David

6 – Post Resource Consent Matters

Once you have approved resource consent for subdivision, you will need to prepare a detailed Land Transfer Plan (s223 approval) which goes to Land Information New Zealand once approved by Council. You need a s224C which shows that you comply with all of the resource consent conditions.  Some of these may require physical works.  Upon receiving this approval, you can apply to have the two new titles issued.


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