Limited Titles

Background

Some titles have the wording “Limited as to Parcels” appearing underneath the title heading. This does not mean that the title is defective. It does mean that the area and boundaries of the land are not guaranteed.

It was not always a requirement that land had to be surveyed as part of the subdivision process. Although not common, this practice was still used as late as the 1960’s before legislation made it compulsory that all subdivisions had to be surveyed.

Implications

What does it mean in practical terms to the land owner or developer when their title is limited as to parcels?

  • The actual area and boundaries of the site may be different from that on the title.
  • As the property was never surveyed, the Survey Act and Rules prohibit a redefinition survey, i.e. should a person need to know where their boundaries are, a land surveyor is not allowed to peg the site. A survey has to be undertaken to remove the limitations and a guaranteed title issued. As part of this procedure the boundaries will be pegged.
  • Some Councils will not accept resource consent applications for development where the title is limited as to parcels. This is particularly prevalent for commercial sites where development occurs either on or very close to the boundaries.

Removal of limitations survey

A surveyor generally follows the same procedures for a removal of limitation survey as for a normal subdivision. More attention is given to occupation, particularly fences, walls or other structures older than 30 years that may be evidence of a boundary position.

A normal land transfer plan is prepared, approved by LINZ and lodged with the District Land Registrar for registration. Prior to registration, the consent of adjoining owners must be obtained. It may be that an adjoining land owner disputes the position of the boundary. There are two ways of obtaining consent from adjoining owners:-

  • The surveyor prepares a copy of the survey plan with the names of the registered owners of adjoining properties thereon. The surveyor or owner can then call on the adjoining owners in person and request them to sign the plan. This way can be quick should all adjoining owners agree. The downside of this way is that people will not sign for frivolous reasons that bear no relation to the position of the boundaries.
  • The second approach is for the District Land Registrar to serve notice on adjoining owners. The owners must respond within a statutory time frame if they object to the position of the boundaries. If they do not respond, it is deemed that they have no objection and registration can proceed. If an adjoining owner wants to object, they arrange for a caveat to be placed against the current title that will prevent the guaranteed title from being issued. The boundary dispute is then resolved through negotiation or due legal process.

We advise that you contact RPC Land Surveyors to assist you with further advice that you may require on limited titles or the removal of limitations.

Andre Conradie
16 April 2012