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Cross lease to freehold– what are the benefits of freeholding your site?

Updated: Feb 20

Do you own a cross lease site and are you thinking of freeholding it? Do you know the benefits? In this blog, we’ll highlight some of the benefits of this type of subdivision.

The most common and simplest land ownership type in New Zealand is freehold ownership. This is where you own the land and (generally) the buildings on it. However, there are still many properties that are in different ownership types, including cross lease. You can find out more about the difference between freehold and cross lease sites here.

If you have a cross lease site, you can create a freehold site by subdividing (via a resource consent application). This is usually a straight- forward resource consent process- you can find out more about it here.

But why would you want to do this subdivision?

What are the benefits of freehold sites?

As compared to cross lease ownership, there are many benefits to freeholding the site. These benefits include:

· Absolute ownership of land with more freedom and flexibility

You have complete ownership of the land and freedom to do whatever you want as long as it complies with Council rules and regulations, such as the Auckland Unitary Plan, or you have approval from Council (such as a resource consent).

· Easier to make changes to the property or undertake new development

With a cross- lease site, you need approval from the other owners for most development on the property. You don’t need this approval with freehold sites (unless this is required as part of a resource consent application), meaning the risks are reduced. It’s also one less process to go through in redevelopment.

It also means you can develop your land without having regard to someone else’s buildings on the site. For example, building coverage and impermeable area restrictions in the Auckland Unitary Plan are based on the “site”, which includes buildings on the other cross lease owners exclusive areas. A cross lease owner may object to your new project, as it could impact on the develop potential of their exclusive use areas. This situation doesn’t occur with a freehold site.

· You don’t need to update the Flats Plan

A flats plan needs to be updated when you undertake changes to buildings on your property, otherwise the Record of Title for the property would be considered as defective. We discuss more about flats plans here, including the costs and the process of updating them.

This is additional costs on all cross-lease owners when they make changes, in perpetuity. Its often cheaper to subdivide the site than to continually have to update the flats plan.

· Increase in land value

A freehold site can have a 7%-20% higher land value compared to a cross lease site. Having a freehold site is typically more desirable in the housing market, due to various reasons, including the ones mentioned above. A subdivision resource consent to freehold your site almost always results in an increase to land value.

There are many benefits to freehold ownership of sites compared to cross lease, which is why so many people are looking to subdivide.

Want to know more?

If you currently own a cross lease property and would like to discuss the potential of freeholding your property, give our experienced team a call to learn more. We also work with other specialists, including surveyors and engineers, to manage the whole process for you. You can contact us on or 427 9966. We look forward to hearing from you!

Mary Zhou is a Planner at Planning Plus®. Mary has been part of the Planning Plus team since 2021 and has a real passion and drive for all things planning. Mary has experience with a variety of projects including rural and urban land use, subdivision and feasibility analysis.


As with all our blogs this information is preliminary in nature only and we have used our best endeavours to ensure it is correct at the time of writing. It is not intended to substitute for your own investigations or obtaining specific advice on your proposal from professionals. Planning Plus LtdTM is not liable in any way for any errors or omissions.

© Planning Plus Ltd 2024

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