Should it be landlord or farming focus?

Your land surveyed
with Brent Trail
Surveying Services Ltd

It’s not uncommon that when you buy the neighbouring block you will end up with an additional house. More and more farmers are finding this to be a liability rather than an asset.

Managing such a property can distract you from your main farming focus and even lead to serious problems and financial difficulty.

In these times of houses being written off through meth contamination, the lucky ones might be those whose house is burned to the ground. I’m sure you have all heard the horror stories of decontamination going on forever and costing more than the house is worth – not to mention the stress, distraction and wasted time.

So when you purchase an adjoining property it is best to demand a separate title from the vendor – resisting a boundary adjustment if possible, especially if you don’t own multiple titles already. Once you have this title you often have some options.

Most councils allow the adjustment of boundaries between adjoining titles or complete relocation, however there are exceptions so please seek advice from a professional surveying company even before you purchase.

Sell off house

Having now purchased the land it may well be possible to subdivide the house off. The aim of the game will generally be to sell as little land as possible. Most value lies in the house site but, being a rural block, they may want a little land for a garden and a few animals. So we would seek approval to shrink one title in size, transferring the bulk of the productive land into the other title.

Should you actually wish to retain the house, or a house didn’t come with the block, this additional title may possibly be used somewhere else on the property to create a lifestyle block or be retained for future flexibility. Some people use these additional titles to create a retirement lot around their house, enabling them to retain it when they eventually sell, or simply to create a ‘house title’ separate from the farm business right away to protect the family home.

If your current goal is to rearrange your boundaries or subdivide prior to next season, now is the time to act. It is not uncommon for the simplest boundary change to take six months to complete and, if there are legal issues or delays in gaining approvals from other parties, there is potential for this to be even longer.

Future option

Boundary adjustments, where there are no new titles created, are becoming more common now as a means of subdividing since many councils moved to tighten their subdivision rules. However, if there is a chance of creating a new title under the local council's rules, we always advise that you do that now. That way you will have more options in the future for rearranging boundaries or selling part of your land.

So, if you are contemplating any changes to your boundaries, or wanting to subdivide for flexibility in the future and to get the best value out of your land, now is the time to act before it is too late. Feel free to give me a call and discuss your situation.

Brent Trail, Managing Director of Surveying Services, specialises in resource consent applications for subdivisions across the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. For further information call 0800 268 632 or


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