Legal considerations when subdividing land

Joseph Rose
3 min read

When considering how to expand upon your capital gains, it goes without saying that one of the best investment strategies any landowner should consider is the subdivision of a property. Subdividing a property could mean building two homes on your land with the intention to sell one or committing to a large-scale development.

No matter how you want to subdivide your property, it’s essential that you check several items off your list to ensure that you’re complying with all the legalities associated with subdividing.

Note: For the purposes of this guide to subdividing we’ll be focusing on the state of Victoria.

 For sale: 20 Avonhurst Drive, Glen Waverley, VIC For sale: 20 Avonhurst Drive, Glen Waverley, VIC

Things to consider

Subdividing can be a complicated matter and there are a number of variables to consider before beginning the process.

It’s critical to understand the finer details in order to attain a good idea on how you should approach your subdivision as well as understanding the types of hurdles you may face.

Here are some questions that’ll help you gain a better understanding of the subdividing process:

1. Are there any local or state planning policies that could impact your subdividing proposal?

2. Can the proposed subdivided lots be serviced adequately by required utilities and infrastructure?

3. Can the land sustain an increase of intensity due to proposed development?

4. How does subdividing the property relate to or affect any existing buildings currently on the property?

Once you can answer the above questions thoroughly, you’ll have a better understanding of the subdivision process and how to go about planning for it.

Applications & permits required

When it comes to subdividing your property, the laws and legal implications involved can be complex. With a fair number of applications and permits required in the process, the load of legal documentation can be overwhelming.

In Victoria, any subdivision of a property will require an application to be made to Land Victoria in accordance with Section 22 of the Subdivision Act 1988. A planning permit is also expected to be obtained from your local council in relation to any proposed developments you intend on undertaking during and after the subdividing of your property.

Should there be any restrictions or ongoing obligation requirements set by the local council for use and development of the land, you’ll be subjected to a Section 173 agreement. This agreement is required to ensure compliance with all the conditions associated with the planning permit and is legally binding on you as well as all future owners of the property.

 For sale: Bentleigh, VIC For sale: Bentleigh, VIC

Common mistakes to avoid

If this is your first time developing a property or you’re unfamiliar with the process of subdividing, you’ll need to ensure that you avoid these common mistakes:

1. Losing track of council deadlines – This is one of the most common mistakes made in the subdividing process and is one that doesn’t reflect positively on you. It is essential to make sure you do not let your permit time lapse.

2. Underestimating the job scale – Be realistic in your approach to subdividing the property. It’s not possible to run the whole show yourself by being the project manager for the entire development without getting any professional help.

With careful planning, you can easily avoid these common mistakes especially with the help of an experienced subdivision lawyer who can provide you with expert legal advice.

The role of a subdivision lawyer

Just in the same fashion that proper assessments are required when deciding to commit to an investment strategy, it is essential that any subdividing plans are consulted with an expert property legal advisor.

Not only does a subdivision lawyer help deal with the entire process from planning permissions, applications, liaising with your surveyor, obtaining appropriate surveys, and so on, they will help save you the pain and agony associated with legal complications should anything unfortunate arise.

An experienced property lawyer will give you the advantage of having someone guide you through the entire subdividing process including your legal obligations as well as all necessary applications and permits you will need to get the job done.

We hope these legal considerations for subdividing land put you on track to a successful and fortuitous subdivision. For more advice check out these tips to subdivide property for profit.

Joseph Rose
Joseph Rose is the Principal for Rose Lawyers and Conveyancers. Joseph is a distinguished Notary Public who focusses on assisting clients with Wills, Matrimonial matters, Probate matters, and Business issues.

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I found it interesting how you mentioned how subdividing land can be a confusing process because of the sheer amount of paperwork involved and the strict timeframes that you need to conform to. My wife and I are in the process of purchasing a large amount of land that we plan on subdividing to our children after we pass and we want to make sure that it is hassle-free so they can utilize their plots as soon as they can. I will keep this in mind as we search for a subdivision service near us that can help us traverse the complex legal field that is subdividing!


I thought it was interesting how any subdivision of property requires an application in accordance with the Subdivision Act of 1988. My brother works for a company that is looking for a business to help them with a subdivision development project. It would be good for them to find a business that works within the sections and metrics that are laid out by current property laws.


I found it interesting how you mentioned how you should find an experienced property lawyer when subdividing land. My wife and I are in the process of subdividing our land to build many homes for our future grandchildren. We want to make sure the land is subdivided properly so we will keep this in mind as we move forward!

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