Madeleine owned a house which was part of a “cross leased” title.  The cross leased property consisted of one older original home with her house built out the back.

She wanted to extend her house and was advised by her lawyer that she couldn’t do so without consent from the owner of the other house on the title and having a new title plan prepared, which would involve significant surveying and legal costs.  It was suggested to Madeleine that she consider changing the title to “fee simple” so there would be no such restriction on extending the house.

Cross leased properties are properties where two or more owners share ownership of underlying land and “lease” their properties from the other owner.  There are restrictions associated with these titles, including an inability to build outside the original plan of the house on the title and having to obtain the other owner’s consent to adding to the property.

There are a number of things to take into account when considering changing your title from cross lease to fee simple, including:

  1. Whether the land size is big enough for Council to consent to a separate title being issued;
  2. Whether the other owner consents to the change (as their title will change too);
  3. If you have borrowings secured against it your bank will need to provide consent to the change;
  4. Costs can be high, including legal costs, survey costs and potentially costs of upgrading services to the property.

It is recommended that you take legal and other professional advice before considering changing your title.