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Converting Your Cross-Lease Property

Find out more here about converting defective flats plans, cross-lease or unit titles to freehold (fee simple) titles, following our simple process that makes conversion of your cross-lease or unit titles to fee simple titles easy and effective.

If you have a property with a cross lease title, together with the other owners of the cross lease title, you own undivided shares as tenants in common in the underlying land. You then ‘lease’ your separate dwelling or flat on the land from all owners (usually for 999 years in perpetuity). 

Because of this dual nature of land ownership, you will have limited rights as the owner of a cross lease property.  You will most likely need to get the consent of the other owners if you want to make any improvements to your property (e.g .build an extension to your house or add a garage) which can cause problems between owners with differing needs and expectations.

A fee simple title, on the other hand, gives you absolute ownership over both your land and dwelling so you can alter or make additions without having to get your neighbour’s consent (subject to local bylaws and legal requirements).

Why Convert to Freehold

Simply put, if two identical properties were being marketed, one on a cross lease and the other a fee simple title, the fee simple title would most likely always look more attractive to buyers and therefore reach higher sale figures than the cross lease. 

Other benefits include:

  • You will not be a co-owner of the land with other people who can then make it difficult if you wish to undertake additions or alterations; and
  • When selling you will not get drawn into any argument as to whether your title may be defective or not.  This can happen if the plan which accompanies the title of your property does not show the correct outline of your dwelling or is missing another building (e.g. a garage) which was constructed later than the dwelling;

Ultimately, as owner of your own land you have the highest degree of freedom of use and ownership.

How to Convert

First, talk to your neighbours to find out whether they would also be interested in gaining the benefits from the title conversion.  It is always easier working together as a team.

The next step is to engage a Surveyor (this is where we come in) to visit the site and gather information on access, drainage, position of existing dwellings and any other features that are necessary to effect the change.

One of our engineers will review and report on the existing infrastructure to see whether any separation of services are required (this includes sewage, water supply and stormwater drainage). 

Our Surveyor will then prepare a Resource Consent application for approval by your local Council. 

The Council may set conditions on the consent that requires improvements to be undertaken to the existing infrastructure.

Once these works are completed we will complete the Survey Plan and apply for the final certification required.

Your trusted solicitor will then take over from here to work with us and lodge the documents with Land Information New Zealand to obtain the new fee simple titles.

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