• Swarup Dutta

How do I subdivide my land in Victoria?

Updated: Apr 12

Can I subdivide my backyard
Sell your Backyard

There is a growing trend in older parents helping their children get into the property market while keeping the family "together". It is a win win situation for both parties.

Our client owned a block of land in Chadstone. The land had a small backyard and pool he no longer used. The kids had moved out.

The Melbourne property market was very buoyant. The client's daughter offered to buy the backyard from her parents to build her first home in a location she was familiar with.

AuArchitecture assisted them in the subdivision process.

The steps we undertook is quite typical of subdividing your land ( or backyard) be it a two or more lot subdivision. In this instance, the existing house is being retained for the parents.

The same process would apply if the existing house was to be demolished to make way for more new townhouses / units.


Step 1- Zoning and planning overlays ( one day)

AuArchitecture undertook a Planning Review. We checked the zoning and planning overlays. The zoning allowed subdivision with no minimum lot size specified.

Step 2- Design brief ( 7 days)

Swarup, our Principal, met with the family and discussed their wishlist.

We established the backyard could accommodate a two bedroom unit while complying with council's planning requirements regarding:

  • open spaces per dwelling (even the existing house was subject to this requirement)

  • car parking spaces

  • car turning circles

  • 3m wide driveway to the backyard and amongst other planning and regulatory matters

  • preserving the root structure of a large gum tree near the driveway.

A preliminary design of the second house and the subdivision layout was agreed to by all parties.

A land survey was organised for a Feature survey and Re Establishment (RE) survey which identified the property boundaries.

RE surveys are critical when building to avoid any beaches on the boundaries.

Step 3- Town Planning Application lodged at Council ( 4-6 weeks)

AuArchitecture lodged a planning application with a planning report, floor and roof plans, elevations, shadow diagrams and other relevant drawings for the second house in the backyard.

Example of a set of drawings submitted for Town Planning approval.

A subdivision plan was lodged at the same time saving 50% on Council application fees.

The subdivision permit was an "in principle approval" from Council for two new lots with a common driveway.

It was not the formal subdivision plan which is required for Registration of title.

This type of subdivision is a Strata Type with the two lots sharing a common driveway and other common property.

Step 4- Town Planning and Subdivision permit issued (6-8 months)

Council approved the plans for the second house and the proposed subdivision for two lots.

Lot 1 contained the front house and its associated open spaces and Lot 2 being the backyard which would accommodate the new house and it's associated open spaces.

The driveway was common/shared property.

The Planning Permit contained multiple conditions to be satisfied for the subdivision to formally proceed.

They included connection of the essential services to the new lot created in the backyard.

The services included connection to sewer, water, power, NBN etc. These can be called the required WORKS.

The subdivision permit allowed the parent and daughter enter into a sale contract with settlement to occur when the new lot (in the backyard) was formally registered.

Step 4- Registration of titles (9- 12 months)

Once Council approved the "in principle" subdivision, our Land Surveyor prepared formal plan of subdivision in a format acceptable for Registration and checked off by Council.

The daughter completed the works required by the Permit conditions and connected the services to the backyard.

On completion of these WORKS, Council issued a Statement of Compliance/Certificate of Compliance.

The client lodged the Certificate and formal plan of subdivision with the Titles Office in Melbourne.

Fees were payable to all statutory authorities.

The Titles office issued the legally Registered lots with the common property ( shared driveway).

The parent and daughter settled on the Sale.

Costs to date around $40,000 including completing the WORKS, professional fees, fees payable to the Statutory Authorities and connection fees.

Step 5 Building Permit to construct the second house

The daughter engaged a builder to construct the new house in the backyard.

The builder entered into a Contract which would allow construction of the new house as per the Building Permit drawings, which included more detailed construction drawings, structural and civil engineering, thermal assessment and landscape plan.

See an example of the Building Permit drawings also called Working Drawings.

The daughter's financial lender agreed to a construction loan which was paid to the builder at the appropriate stages.

Read about the building stages.

Are you thinking of Subdividing your backyard?

Get a HIGH LEVEL OPINION of what is possible. Its complimentary!

Swarup, our Founder, managed 250+ property subdivision permits. He walks the talk and did his own dual occupancy subdivision- overcoming all the challenges from council and neighbours!

Contact him for a high level opinion f what you can do on your land in Victoria.

Dual occupancy subdivision can be a typical one dwelling behind another, where the existing house is retained or removed; a side by side dual occupancy which is called a duplex or one on a corner lot. Other forms of subdivision are town house developments or larger land carved into smaller lots.


Townhouse development for 3 lots with common (shared) driveway.

DUPLEX 2 lot subdivision


Corner lot subdivision

Four townhouse subdivision with common driveway

Four townhouses with basement parking

Eight lot subdivision with shared driveway

Town houses in multi lot subdivision

Large lot subdivision in Torrens titled lot

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