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The subdivision of land means dividing it into two or more lots.

You can also subdivide an existing building.

The subdivision process

Most subdivision applications go through three stages:

Stage 1: Planning permit for subdivision

Knox City Council has 60 days to assess your application for planning permit approval.

Servicing authorities (water, sewer, gas, phone, drainage) must agree to the permit's issue.

Council can then write a report and decide whether to grant a permit.

The planning permit tells you what conditions you must meet.

These can include servicing authorities' needs, like:

  • building vehicle crossings
  • drainage works
  • contribution towards open space.

You may also need to submit amended plans.

Stage 2: Certification

Certification makes sure the plan of subdivision is satisfactory.

A plan can't be certified until a planning permit is issued.

The plan of subdivision for certification is given to the servicing authorities.

They check if their services will need easements.

If the planning permit needs works done (for example construction of roads, drainage and services), engineering plans might be needed.

In this case, the plan of subdivision is not certified until engineering plans are approved.

The plan may be certified once the:

  • servicing authorities agree to the plan of subdivision
  • engineering plans are approved (where and if needed).

A certified plan is valid for five years.

If the plan is not registered at the titles office within five years, the plan expires.

Stage 3: Statement of compliance

You need a statement of compliance to:

  • finish the subdivision process
  • register the subdivision at the titles office
  • release the new titles by the titles office.

You must meet the planning permit conditions before this is issued.

This might include constructing drainage and vehicle crossings and paying all servicing authorities for water, sewerage, drainage and electricity supply.

Council will issue a statement of compliance when:

  • it has received a letter from each servicing authority
  • a Council officer has made a final inspection of the site.

Council must make a final inspection of the completed units and landscaping when subdividing in an approved unit site development site before issuing a statement of compliance.

Obtain titles without developing land

If a planning permit is issued for development on the land (for example a multi-unit development), you can apply to subdivide without starting the development.

You need to submit the planning permit application to Council with a report stating the land will be developed after subdivision.

Council may issue a planning permit for subdivision, subject to a permit condition.

This condition means the owner must make a Section 173 agreement with Council.

Only the approved development can be built on the land once the separate titles are issued.

This agreement:

  • is made under the Planning and Environment Act 1987
  • is registered on the title to the land to bind future owners of the land to the agreement.

Consent to the issue of a statement of compliance from all servicing authorities is still needed, even though there's no actual construction on site.

Drainage and driveway works may need to be bonded with the Council's engineer.

Apply for subdivision

A land surveyor makes planning permit applications for subdivision on the landowners' behalf. it is recommended that you contact a registered land surveyor to discuss the process and requirements for lodging a subdivision.

All planning permit applications for subdivision are made through the online SPEAR system.

Council planning application fees can be paid online.

Pay application fees

Register to use our online service

More information

You may also find our subdivision checklists useful:

Glossary of subdivision terms

Here are some common subdivision terms and meanings.

Planning permit

Permit issued by Council under the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

This allows for the use, development or subdivision of land, and states the items to comply with as part of the consent.


These are two cardboard copies of the plan of subdivision. They are treated as originals and signed by Council.

One copy is kept by Council and the other submitted to the titles office.

Section 173 agreement

An agreement between the landowner and Council made under Section 173 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

This agreement is entered on the title to the land and may control the future use, development or subdivision of the land.

All future owners of the land will be bound by this agreement.

Certified plan

Once Council signs the copy of the plan of subdivision, it is called the certified plan. This is the plan that is lodged at the Land Titles Office.

However, this alone does not result in separate titles being returned, as a statement of compliance is also needed.

Endorsed plan

A plan showing the subdivision of the site.

This plan is endorsed by Council and attached to the planning permit. This is not a certified plan and can't be lodged with the titles office.

Statement of compliance

A certificate issued by Council when the subdivision is complete. This document is lodged at the titles office to let new separate titles be issued.

Servicing authorities

These are utility authorities such as:

  • Telstra
  • South East Water
  • Melbourne Water
  • Multi Net Gas
  • TRU Energy
  • United Energy
  • Vic Roads
  • Country Fire Authority
  • Comdain.
PS number

The number on the top right-hand corner of the plan of subdivision, given by the land surveyor at the time of drafting.

The PC Number is used for plan of consolidation.

Land surveyor

Surveyor of Land who holds a license which allows them to apply to the titles office to amend titles.

Restrictive covenant

Shown on the title as an encumbrance. Can restrict what can be constructed on the site.

It can include building envelopes, tree protection envelopes, single dwelling-only requirements, building materials and building setbacks.

If a covenant is listed on your title, you can buy a copy of it from the titles office.


An area of land shown on the title in favour of Council, a Servicing Authority or neighbour's property.

The easement may cover a drain or sewer line, or may be in favour of another property.

The easement lets you know there may be something under the ground or rights of access to your property by another party.

You need permission to build over easements.

Need help?

Contact Planning Services and we will get back to you.

Or call our Planning Services team on 9298 8000.

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