Rural real estate guidance

This page is for licensees working in the rural sector. It includes guidance and information about listing rural properties.

Titles and land ownership issues you may come across

  • Land title boundaries

    Most land title boundaries are based on lines marking the division between adjoining pieces of land. Land is often bounded by the sea, a river, lake, road or railway rather than the artificial lines of a survey.

    You are not expected to verify where the property boundaries are in every case. However, if you are aware of an issue, you should point it out, and if asked, you must either verify where the boundaries are or advise the purchaser to get professional surveying advice.

  • Easements

    An easement is a right to cross or otherwise use someone else's land for a specified purpose and is typically registered against the property’s title. For example, an easement may be put in place for power companies to gain access to pylons or power lines on a property.

    Easements are normally registered and recorded on the certificates of title of the dominant tenement (the property that gains benefit from the easement) and the servient tenement (the property that provides the benefit).

    You should obtain a copy of any registered easement documents as part of the pre-marketing data collection and review process. You should also alert any buyers to the presence of the easement and advise them to get legal advice.

    When an easement isn’t recorded on the certificate of title

    Some easements may have been created by statute or by non-registered agreements between neighbouring property owners to allow driveways, access ways or water rights to be shared. Because unregistered easements may represent an underlying defect in a property, it is important that you obtain clear information that can be passed on to prospective purchasers.

    For more information on easements visit LINZ(external link)

  • Wāhi tapu

    Section 6(e) of the Resource Management Act 1991(external link) provides for the relationship of Māori and their culture, traditions and relationship with the land and waterways.

    Certain sites, known as wāhi tapu, are of spiritual and cultural significance to Māori, for example, the birthplace of a founding ancestor, a burial site (urupā), traditional canoe-building or landing sites, or the site of a historically significant event. Those that have been disclosed by tāngata whenua (the people of the land) are recorded on district planning maps and are subject to protection under the Resource Management Act 1991.

    Development near a wāhi tapu may be limited or prohibited or require consultation with Māori leaders to gain their approval for any proposed work. Such sites may not be identified on individual certificates of title. A search of the district plan is the most reliable method of identifying these sites.

  • Overseas Investment Act 2005 (OIA)

    This Act controls the acquisition of certain types of property, known as sensitive assets, by overseas persons. Sensitive assets include, among other things, non-urban land exceeding 5 hectares in area.

    An overseas person is defined as:

    • an individual who is neither a New Zealand citizen nor ordinarily resident in New Zealand
    • a company or body corporate incorporated outside New Zealand
    • a company or body corporate or partnership incorporated within New Zealand where 25% or more of any class of shares is owned or controlled by an overseas person.

    Consent for purchase of such land by overseas persons is regulated under the OIA. Consent will not be granted unless the subject property has been offered for sale on the open market (to New Zealand citizens and residents) for at least 20 working days.

    This is a highly specialised area, and any prospective overseas investors should be encouraged to seek a suitably experienced legal adviser to guide them through the process. You can also contact the Overseas Investment Office at LINZ(external link) for guidance before you list rural land for sale. 

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