Freehold and strata subdivision surveys are a crucial step in the property development process. The surveys are crucial for the understanding of the subdivision layout and they also serve as a guide to developers. The strata survey is especially important in multi-unit developments such as condominiums, townhouses and apartments. A strata subdivision or lot survey is required by legislation. Without this information lawyers, banks, insurers and other professionals who deal with property development would be severely limited in their ability to protect and service clients involved in property development projects.

What Are Freehold and Strata Subdivisions?

A freehold subdivision occurs when a developer sub-divides off existing land. The resulting lots are sold to purchasers who build homes thereon.

Strata Subdivision means different things in different forms of tenure. Generally speaking, this term refers to condominiums and townhouse developments that are divided into separate properties and sold.

When managing the sale and purchase of freehold and strata subdivisions, it is often necessary to carry out a survey beforehand.

Why Are Freehold and Strata Subdivision Surveys Important?

A subdivision survey is important for a number of reasons. First, if the developer fails to complete the survey prior to sale, then purchasers may find themselves living in homes that are not suitable for their intended purposes.

There can also be problems related to improper zoning and building setbacks (this applies only when there is a homeowners association). Other potential problems include:

  • What zone does my lot fall into? Does it allow me to build the house I want? Can I get permission from other authorities such as town council or utility companies?
  • Will my next door neighbours’ views and access cause me any problems? Do our properties share service/utility easements or sewers? Who should pay for any necessary repairs?
  • Is my property properly serviced (i.e., by water, hydro and sewage)? Can I tap into the services of my neighbours if required? Will this cause them any problems?
  • Who is responsible for cutting the grass between properties? Whose trees can I trim or cut down without getting permission first? What about expanding my house into that space (not allowed in many cases)?
  • Do I need to obtain approval from adjoining properties before making changes to my home? If so, what are the procedures involved in doing so?

In short, freehold and strata subdivision surveys ensure that the land or properties are clearly divided and ownership of all communal areas are clearly defined.

They can also be used to help developers determine the most effective way to divide land or buildings to maximize potential and increase their overall profits.

What Do Freehold and Strata Subdivision Surveys Involve?

A survey can vary in scope depending upon the type of subdivision, its size and the type of tenure involved. Freehold subdivisions are generally easier to deal with because there are no co-operative issues to take into consideration. However, since each lot is different, it’s important to make sure that proper setbacks are defined along with easements for water, sewer and drainage.

Strata subdivision surveys need to be done by registered land surveyors who have experience dealing with homeowners’ associations. They must also be aware of provincial laws relating to boundary agreements or servitudes because many projects involve building or modifying adjacent buildings owned by others.

Sometimes these types of projects also require construction surveys that focus more on what can actually be built where, rather than the legalities involved in the property transfer.

Common survey tasks involve:

  • Drawing lots, legal descriptions and boundaries on the survey
  • Making necessary topographical surveys
  • Defining easements involving water, drainage, electricity, cable and telephone lines
  • Determining setbacks from property lines
  • Locating any natural hazards including creeks, slopes or buried utility lines (and marking them on the map)

What Are The Benefits Of Freehold and Strata Subdivision Surveys?

A survey will help the purchaser avoid costly surprises in the future. It also helps developers determine how best to divide land or buildings in order to maximize profit potential. By making more efficient use of communal areas like hallways and outdoor spaces, developers can make significant savings on maintenance.

By performing freehold and strata subdivision surveys, real estate professionals minimize their risk while helping buyers make informed decisions.

Freehold and strata subdivision surveys are essential for developers with large plots of lands or development properties. Failing to get the correct surveys can lead to legal issues further down the line and it can prevent developers from getting the most out of their investments.

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