Proactive and forward thinking.

In the rapidly changing world of law, it pays to be just this.

Harris Tate is one of Tauranga’s most trusted and experienced law firms.  You can rely on our friendly team to provide the very best expertise.

With a proven track record in securing client goals, we take the time to make sure you understand and receive clear, concise advice that is both sound in law and works in the real world.

Proactive and forward thinking.

About Us

We know that choosing a law firm is not an easy task.
So why not make the simple choice and pick a firm where you matter?

At Harris Tate we treat clients as individuals – with the friendliness, respect and attention each deserves – while getting the best results for you.

Personal or business law; family, elder, business, franchise, employment, property and immigration law; or dispute resolution and litigation; we have all bases covered.

We live and breathe law and believe a good day at the office is when we have achieved a great result for you. Always working with your best interests at heart, through communicating and listening to your goals, we clearly navigate you through the legal system.

Or how we like to see it, smart law and intelligent advice.

About Us

Our Story

Originally founded by Ross Harris in 1980 before partnering with Alan Tate in 1995, Harris Tate has become one of Tauranga’s most trusted law firms driven by its passion to provide people with smart , intelligent advice with excellent service.

Clients are at the heart of our business. With that in mind we like to think we are a good combination of professionalism, approachability, commitment, and energy.

We are an agile firm with the right sized team of both lawyers and legal professionals driven by a love of law, and helping clients get the best outcomes.

Each day the team at Harris Tate aims to deliver a legal service that is cutting edge and professional.

Our Story

Our People

David Foster, Director

David Foster, Director

David is our workplace franchise guru with more than 20 years experience behind him. As the past-Chairman of the Franchise Association of New Zealand his expertise lies in areas of commercial, franchising and property practice. But don’t let this tough business exterior fool you.

Known around the office for his old school demeanour, David is diligent, direct and to the point. And though he doesn’t like to waste time on chit-chat, he has an ability to find the time to regale elaborate stories of the past.

He is at his happiest when he's delivering excellent service and providing quality outcomes for his clients. David’s ability to maintain sound relationships is shown in his huge network of contacts, some dating back to his Auckland boys’ school days, and a fantastic rapport with his clients – a testimonial to the large amount of Christmas cards he gets each year (and yes, there is a competition).

David is also our resident Notary Public, he takes swearing an oath or witnessing official documents very seriously.

Phone: 07 571 3668
Email: david@harristate.co.nz

Katrina Hulsebosch, Director

Katrina Hulsebosch, Director

Competition breeds success and while she might not like to admit it, Katrina, or Kat, brings a distinctive competitive edge to the firm – especially if you talk to the other directors. Each day Kat can be found searching for the most efficient and cost-effective result for her clients, something she gets a kick out of. Though she vouches it isn’t so much a competitive streak rather high standards and expectations.

Despite her exceptionally professional and resilient approach, Kat's down-to-earth and caring approach shines through in her deep compassion and empathy for her clients.

She is a competent, fast moving professional who loves nothing more than giving a sound legal advice.

Kat specialises in business advisory, insolvency, immigration, estate planning and elder law.

Phone: 07 928 0881
Email: katrina@harristate.co.nz

Grant Harris, Director

Grant Harris, Director

Law is in the blood when it comes to the Harris family with Grant following in his father Ross’s footsteps. Born and bred in Tauranga, soon after graduating he packed his bags and headed overseas, carving out a career abroad including more than 8 years at major international law firms in the UK.

With a great eye for detail and extremely thorough, Grant is famed within the office as being the ‘process man’ given the vast amount of process forms he has introduced (a move both loved and loathed by colleagues!).

Grant's practical, dependable and hugely intelligent reputation goes before him, which is coupled with a great sense of humour. He is a hugely experienced property investor, President of Tauranga Property Investors Association and assists Harris Tate’s property syndicate and unit title development.

With a direct and analytical demeanor it’s Grant’s love of detail that allows him to achieve excellent outcomes for his clients.

Phone: 07 571 3666
Email: grant@harristate.co.nz

Oliver Moorcroft, Director

Oliver Moorcroft, Director

He might not be able to solve a rubix cube in under a minute (well he hasn’t told us he can) but Oliver will give it a good crack, he is an expert problem solver.

Oliver (you can call him Ollie) is our leader for all civil litigation, relationship property, disputes, and employment disputes.

With experience in all areas of disputes resolution (alternate or the traditional court system), primarily in construction, relationship property, personal insolvency and employment matters, Ollie gets a thrill out of solving difficult problems and achieving the results his clients are after.

A spin off of that is he is not so quietly confident and while others around the office believe this might be a prerequisite for being a litigator, Ollie shamelessly takes this in his stride.

Ollie has an ability to focus on the client’s problem, and solution, not the dispute itself and will do everything to solve each individual client case in order to achieve practical commercial outcomes.

Phone: 07 571 3663
Email: oliver@harristate.co.nz

 

Ross Harris, Consultant

Ross Harris, Consultant

As founding partner of Harris Tate, Ross’s expertise is extensive and varied. He's particularly known for his ability to define and pursue the nub of issues and negotiate proficiently.

Ross has 45 years of practical experience across much of the law, and is a life member of the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce.

Phone: 07 571 3660
Email: ross@harristate.co.nz

Alan Tate, Consultant

These days Alan works part-time as a consultant with Harris Tate, popping in as and when required. He also is the resident beekeeper tending to the hives behind the office at Harris Tate and making our honey.

Alan’s background knowledge of his clients and practical advice is invaluable, so it’s no surprise that Alan continues to maintain a very loyal client base.

Alan remains heavily involved in local iwi trusts and as a founding member of the firm. 

Phone: 07 578 0059

Email: alan@harristate.co.nz

Michelle Carabine, Senior Solicitor

Michelle Carabine, Senior Solicitor

Michelle acts for and advises migrant clients in relation to residency (investor) applications. She holds a Graduate Certificate in New Zealand Immigration Advice also specialises in commercial law.

A multi-talented lawyer, she seamlessly divides her time between our specialist immigration team and helping with commercial and property law issues.

She is tenacious at solving tricky legal problems, a trait her clients hold in high regard. Michelle relates well while grabbing the bull by the horns to achieve the best outcomes.

Phone: 07 571 3664
Email: michellec@harristate.co.nz

Nicole Wong, Solicitor

Nicole Wong, Solicitor

Nicole is an integral cog in the wheel that is our immigration team, especially with our growing Chinese client base.

She is fluent in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Malay, Indonesian and Hakka – meaning nothing is lost in translation with our clients.

A graduate of Canterbury Law School, but now calling Tauranga home, Nicole is actively involved in the local Chinese community.

Specialising in conveyancing, immigration and commercial matters Nicole reflects Harris Tate’s values of putting clients at the heart of our business. She is dedicated to meeting the requirements and preferences of our Chinese clients as she advises them fully and appropriately in the appropriate language.

Phone: 07 571 3661
Email: nicole@harristate.co.nz

John Delaney, Solicitor

John Delaney, Solicitor

John can be found ensconced in the inner sanctum of dispute resolution, or as he likes to put it, “the team that gets the files that no-one else likes".

A perfect fit for John, or JD as he's known around the office, he's spent his entire working life resolving disputes. Previously a trade union negotiator representing doctors, an HR Manager, and a qualified mediator, you name it John has done it.

His varied legal experience gives him a good grasp of what it takes to build and sustain good relationships and a sharp eye for disputes when they arise.

However, he'd be the first to say that these skills are yet to rub off on parenthood – his children are reluctant to play ball. Oh, and he hates losing on the football field.

Always up for a challenge and helping clients out, John brings tolerance and a sense of fairness to our firm.

Phone: 07 928 0884
Email: john@harristate.co.nz

Jess Holtom, Trust Manager

Jess Holtom, Trust Manager

Jess has more than 15 years legal experience under her belt, and as a Legal Executive is our encyclopaedia about trusts and how trusts integrate – though we can’t confirm whether she swallowed the book.

Her sound knowledge and practical advice allows Jess to get to the heart of the problem quicker than most and is a vital component of our legal team.

Jess achieves the required result and gets a real buzz out of making a complicated scenario fit with her client’s wishes. Jess is highly dependable and uses her expansive knowledge and analytical prowess to make it work for her clients every time.

Phone: 07 928 0880    
Email: jess@harristate.co.nz

Lesley Monteiro, Legal Executive

Lesley Monteiro, Legal Executive

Despite deciding to retire after more than 35 years with Harris Tate, we are lucky to have Lesley stay with our team as a Consultant.

Such experience and knowledge is an invaluable asset to the firm, with Lesley providing sound legal advice, as well as being the firm’s grammar coach (an important position for which we are yet to hold interviews).

She holds a Legal Executive Certificate and is a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Legal Executives. Lesley is one of three Legal Executives with more than 20 years of service to the firm.

Phone: 07 571 3662
Email: Lesley@harristate.co.nz

Brierley Conquer, Legal Executive

Brierley Conquer, Legal Executive

Brierley is a Legal Executive with a keen eye for detail.

With more than 25 years of experience in property transactions, including subdivisions and finance, she takes pleasure in putting complex and sometimes confusing legal matters in the simplest terms possible.

With a love of fast cars and a great sense of humour to boot she brings a real edge to Grant’s team.

Brierley is a real people person and doesn’t need to look far for motivation each day, kept busy with children, exercising the dogs and knowing she is part of a happy workplace.

Phone: 07 928 0883
Email: brierley@harristate.co.nz

Glenice Ryan, Legal Executive

Glenice Ryan, Legal Executive

Glenice forms the final component of our trio of long-standing Legal Executives, so it’s fair to say she knows how the firm ticks and what works well.

Hailing from right here in Tauranga she is David’s right hand woman assisting with conveyancing and a real whiz on financing matters. She also works with Brierley with subdivisions and section sales.

Phone: 07 571 3665
Email: glenice@harristate.co.nz

Tash Ogilvy, Legal Executive

Tash Ogilvy, Legal Executive

At Harris Tate we pride ourselves on being fast and efficient, but there is one member of the team that either takes this more seriously than the rest or just finds it a breeze – we can’t tell. That person is Natasha, or Tash.

Tash is our conveyancing gun with a professional approach to her areas of property and commercial practice.

While she is a bit of a tough nut and at times stands for no nonsense, Tash can have a good laugh too.

Phone: 07 928 0889
Email: tasha@harristate.co.nz

Sarah Lawson, Law Clerk and Licensed Conveyancer

Sarah Lawson, Law Clerk and Licensed Conveyancer

Employed as a Law Clerk and qualified as a Licensed Conveyancing Practitioner, Sarah works closely with David Foster on all aspects of conveyancing, estate planning and trusts and has been working in the legal field for 7 years.

Sarah specialises in property law and really relishes working with clients helping them achieve their goals. Whilst she works full time, Sarah is also studying for her Law Degree through Waikato University. Effectively, this means Sarah really does meet the “living and breathing the law” definition! Her desire for continual learning and growth within law is a testament to her dedication and consistently professional approach.

Phone: 07 928 0887
Email: sarah@harristate.co.nz

Andrea Lilley, Legal Executive

Andrea Lilley, Legal Executive

With her wakeboard and life jacket neatly tucked under her desk, Andrea is the latest recruit for Harris Tate’s extreme sports team.

But thankfully she doesn’t have her sights set on the X Games, instead as one of our Legal Executives working closely with Katrina on all aspects of conveyancing, and Trusts and Estates. 

After more than four years in delving into family law, Andrea has made the shift across to conveyancing. A move she has taken to like a duck to water, enjoying the structured process it brings in helping deliver expert advice for her clients.

And if her clean record of no broken bones in wakeboarding is anything to go by, Andrea has the precision and eye for detail that help her provide sound legal advice that will smooth otherwise potentially rough waters.

In her spare time she can be found kicking back alongside her husband Jared and their pitbull staffie cross Hans. She also has a passion for travel and is an avid car enthusiast.

You can be assured Andrea will meticulously guide you step-by-step through the legal process and ensure there are no ‘wipeouts’.

Phone: 07 571 3669
Email: andrea@harristate.co.nz

Robyn Smillie, Practice Manager

Robyn Smillie, Practice Manager

Every firm needs a Mr Fix It, or in our case a Mrs Fix It.

Meet Robyn our Practice Manager who keeps a close eye on the whole office. From administration to fixing a simple computer problem or completing the company’s financials, Robyn has the answer.

Unflappable and a great multi-tasker are two descriptions that instantly spring to mind when you think of Robyn – valuable skills when dealing with her children, and the firm’s directors.

Nothing gives her more of a sense of achievement than getting the daily ‘To Do List’ ticked off, which happens on the odd occasion.

The three F’s – Family, Food and Fun – are a big part of what makes Robyn tick. And if ever you're in need of a question to be answered, Robyn’s unmistakable and loud laugh will lead you right to her.

Phone: 07 928 0882
Email: robyn@harristate.co.nz

Expertise

Harris Tate has long been a name synonymous with providing top quality legal service in Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty.

For more than twenty years we have been acting on behalf of business owners and their families who have turned to us for legal advice. It is this quality legal advice delivered in an exceptional way that sets us apart from the rest.

Our established, and experienced team, are highly regarded in their respective fields, helping underpin Harris Tate’s sound reputation in the legal sector.

Our areas of expertise:

Personal and Family We understand that most people find the process of protecting their family or property, or just getting their affairs in order, a daunting prospect.

Personal and Family

Elder Law Your twilight years should be a time when you follow your passions and dreams - not a time for constantly facing question marks.

Elder Law

We have a long tradition of helping clients achieve peace of mind with sound legal advice, making the transition as seamless as possible.

Business Business makes the world go around, but businesses come in different shapes and sizes.

Business

Whether you are just starting out or are a large company, we get to know the core of your business. This allows us to identify the potential risk areas, while providing smart business solutions as we go.

We can help you in all areas in commercial law including liquidation and receivership.

Franchise As the Bay of Plenty’s long-standing and leading franchise experts we know this can be a complex web of terms and conditions. We deal with the fine print so you won’t get caught out.

Franchise

Our legal franchise experts can coach you through all aspects of franchising and business advice. From creating new franchise systems, managing existing set-ups, handling disputes, and advising prospective franchisees, we have the experience for you.

Employment At Harris Tate we know you are busy running a business, which is why we support you in building successful employment relationships where each party clearly understands their rights and obligations.

Employment

Our employment team can keep you up-to-date with all the “need to knows” of employment law so you don't miss  a beat when it comes to operating within the legal frameworks. 

They are the people to turn to if things go wrong in the workplace and can assist with health and safety legal issues.

Insolvency / Bankruptcy Being financially in the red can make you blue.

Insolvency / Bankruptcy

At Harris Tate we know this can take its toll, that’s why we come up with creative ways to ensure you stay financially stable. We specialise in both commercial and personal insolvency or bankruptcy.

In other words we are your damage control team helping you deal with debt without fatal damage to your reputation.

Property Buying a family home is often the biggest investment in a lifetime.

Property

Making sure you feel secure in the legal advice you are receiving at such a time is essential. At Harris Tate we’ll take all the fuss out of buying and selling property, while providing you with insights and knowledge you need to make informed decisions.

The property team is responsible for working clients through a range of property transactions. These include, purchase agreements, commercial lease, building contracts, mortgagee sales, and subdivisions.

Relationship Property Breaking up, it is one of those uncomfortable parts that can occur in life and adding to this emotional weight is dividing up your collective assets as you part ways.

Relationship Property

Put your emotion aside and let the competent and confident team at Harris Tate guide you through the complex division of relationship property and ensure you are protected. 

We can advise you on putting asset protection structures in place, including contracting out agreements (pre-nups) that will help protect your wealth from future property relationship claims.

By ‘untangling’ these issues in advance, you are no longer tied to an ex-partner/spouse and can move forward with your life.

Litigation and Dispute Resolution Personal, property or business issues can often get messy and out of hand, so it pays to have sound commercial advice from the start.

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Our expertise in mediation and advising on and resolving disputes is extensive.

We specialise in court litigation, and while resolution is the ultimate goal we will protect your reputation through negotiations. We provide personal and commercial legal advice which is tailored to your particular problem.

Immigration For new residents to New Zealand immigration policies can be a headache at times.

Immigration

We have an immigration team who can clear up this hassle by providing the best and clearest legal advice for those wanting to make a new life for themselves and their family in New Zealand.

Our team is the Bay of Plenty’s leading lawyers in all immigration matters.

Notary Public You should never feel rushed when it comes to non-contentious matters of the law.

Notary Public

David Foster our resident Notary Public will take the hassle out of any issues you are having with:

  •  Estate deeds 
  • Powers of Attorney 
  • Foreign and International Business

If you require documents to be notarised or other notarial services please contact David for an appointment.

Harris Tate is a member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Notaries.

 

What Our Clients Say

Clean Paleo Ryan Kamins

Ryan Kamins

Oliver and the team at Harris Tate have been a tremendous help to CleanPaleo since we were founded.

As a fast growing company, it is imperative for us to receive timely and accurate legal advice, and this has always been delivered. Oliver was responsive, professional and always willing to go the extra mile.

From basic contracts to larger commercial negotiations and transactions, the team has always shown a lot of care and put a lot of thought into getting the best results for us.

We see Harris Tate as an influential part in helping to smoothly grow our business.

Ryan Kamins, Clean Paleo
Auckland

Ryan Kamins

Tony Han Optometrist Tony Han

Tony Han

Harris Tate has been a great find for me. Katrina, our solicitor since we moved to Tauranga, provides a refreshing approach with sound legal advice. Before then I had never enjoyed dealing with lawyers.

Family is a big thing for me, and Katrina’s ability to balance her professionalism and amicable nature means she feels more like a family friend than a lawyer. We know we can ask for help rather than advice and in a hassle-free manner.

Being a mother herself, Katrina is accustomed to relaying knowledgeable advice in legal matters based on our needs from a family point of view.

I would happily recommend Katrina and Harris Tate to anyone looking for legal advice.

Tony Han, Tony Han Optometrist,
Bethlehem

 

Tony Han

GJ Gardner Homes Shane McConnell

Shane McConnell

As part of one of New Zealand’s most trusted building brands, it pays to have the right team around you to build success. And that includes the right law firm.

For the last seven years Harris Tate has been an integral part of the GJ Gardner Tauranga team, offering smart, capable and no-nonsense legal advice that gets the required results.

Katrina and her team are very personable, approachable and are fantastic to work with. From the moment you sit down with them you are at ease and know they are in your corner and ready to help.

As a 100% locally owned and operated business, what we liked from the outset was Harris Tate’s small, yet experienced, and trusted, team who are never too busy to listen. Back then, and still today, you get that personal service and good practical down-to-earth advice.

In essence, Harris Tate offers experience and advice that works in the real world.

Harris Tate is a great law firm and we are proud to have them as part of our team.

Shane McConnell, GJ Gardner Homes  
Tauranga

Shane McConnell

McLeod Cranes Scott and Peter McLeod

Scott and Peter McLeod

Working with a reliable, reputable company that does everything to meet the needs of its clients is extremely important to keep ahead of the ever changing environment in which we work.

That’s why for more than 10 years we have aligned ourselves with Harris Tate, a firm that is testament to these qualities.

In that time, the firm has provided us with professional, friendly advice with a commitment to getting the right results, with minimal stress for our company first and foremost.

One of the benefits of working with Harris Tate is that it has specialists covering all aspects of business law. There is only one phone call necessary to having our query resolved, saving us precious time.

We look forward to continuing our relationship with Harris Tate and thank them for their support and expertise both past and present.

Scott & Peter McLeod, McLeod Cranes
Tauranga

Scott and Peter McLeod

McDonalds Tauranga John and Sonya Warder

John and Sonya Warder

Harris Tate are second to none when it comes to legal professionalism, and in our case franchise advice.

Right from our first meeting with David, we were put at ease by someone who is trustworthy, dependable and always willing to support us on our business journey.

David, with more than 20 years franchise experience behind him, is a real asset to have and someone so knowledgeable in New Zealand franchising.

Through our entire business relationship he was always responsive and detail oriented which allowed us to stay focused on the day-to-day running of our business and not get distracted with legal details.

A big thank you to David and the team at Harris Tate.

John & Sonya Warder, McDonalds
Tauranga

John and Sonya Warder

Westbay Waratahs Gill and Graham Lett

As long standing clients of Harris Tate we have come to value their impeccable service. 

For more than 15 years the team at Harris Tate have excelled at always being extremely helpful, courteous and considerate, no matter the requirements.

In particular taking care of many of our enquiries, some of which have been incredibly urgent and dealing with these quickly and efficiently in a polite and friendly manner.

More recently we have become clients of Katrina Hulsebosch, one of the shining examples of Harris Tate’s professional, caring and knowledgeable solicitors.

No matter the situation, when dealing with Katrina for many different purposes in the last two years we have always been put at ease and know our legal requirements are in safe hands.

We would like to sincerely thank Katrina for all her time and effort, for always making us feel important and never making anything feel like it is too much trouble.  

We would wholeheartedly recommend Katrina and Harris Tate to any business or individual in need of legal help.

Carrus Corporation Ltd Carrus - Scott Adams

For the last 25 years, Harris Tate has been synonymous with sound legal advice for our family. 

What started as a relationship between my father, Paul Adams, and Harris Tate founder Ross Harris has blossomed into a strong connection, with Harris Tate advising on past and present subdivisions and developments throughout the North Island for us.

As we enter a new period, a changing of the guard – the next generation (including myself) are continuing to build on those rock-solid ties and professional history.

With a dedicated team of professionals lead by four outstanding directors – David Foster, Grant Harris, Oliver Moorcroft and Katrina Hulsebosch – behind us every step of the way, no issue or request is too big for Harris Tate.

From a client perspective, it is pleasing to work closely with solicitors who have sound knowledge across all aspects of law, and a commitment to go above and beyond the desired result.

We look forward to another 25 years in partnership.

Kelowna Group Evan McKain

Harris Tate has been through thick and thin with our organisation, corresponding to an in-depth knowledge of our family business. We’ve faced some tough economic adversities, which left our well structured “empire” a crumpled pile of rubble on the boardroom floor. We were very glad then, and are still grateful now, that our pillar of support was Harris Tate.

With far more robust structures around our remaining business assets today, the calm, level-headed support and advice we have gained from Director Grant Harris and his team has been invaluable.

What I am greatly appreciative of, and particularly impressed with, is Harris Tate’s big picture planning, conducted with concern for intimate personal and family details. Grant was never fazed by our growing need to meet and “discuss” options with a variety of receivers, bankers, and other legal firms.

He also went out of his way to meet us onsite when required, so that he could better understand what we were trying to protect and what we were aiming to achieve.

Harris Tate’s expertise, research, knowledge and service is exceptional. Obviously you pay for what you get, but we are happy with our engagement and the value that we receive.

Evan McKain, Kelowna Group
Tauranga

Community

Community is key to a vibrant and thriving city. That is why the team at Harris Tate goes that extra step to ensure we are actively involved in what makes Tauranga tick.

We are people just like you, so we believe in the importance of supporting community programmes and events – whether it is an individual’s sporting goal or a charitable cause.

Click here to read more >

Community

Latest News

Two into one will go. An overview of land subdivision 25 July 2016

Two into one will go. An overview of land subdivision

Harris Tate director and Tauranga Property Investors Association president Grant Harris says if you are thinking of subdividing it is vital you are aware of all the potential implications of a subdivision. Here is his anaylsis in the latest edition of The Ultimate Property magazine (winter edition 2016).

What is subdivision of land?

A traditional subdivision may be considered the creation of two or more new freehold titles from one existing title. However, there are many other types of activities, constituting the subdivision of land, including the conversion of cross-lease titles to freehold titles, boundary adjustments, unit title developments (such as an apartment development) or even amendments to a cross-lease or a unit title to show alterations, additions or accessory buildings.

What are the criteria for subdivisions?

It is important to note that each local authority has different rules and criteria for the subdivision of land. The main variable for a property subdivision will most likely be the size of the site. The minimum site size for subdivision will vary and depend on local authority zoning for the property (residential, rural, industrial) and the maximum permitted density of dwellings in that zone.

Other variables will include the property's physical features or constraints and the ability to provide services (such as power, water and sewerage) and safe access to the site and appropriate car parking. In Tauranga, all subdivisions will require resource consent under the Resource Management Act 1991 and The City Plan contains the Council's rules regarding subdivision.

Who is engaged as part of the subdivision process?

In addition to the local authority and planning requirements, input and advice will be required from a surveyor and a lawyer with scheme plans and titles processed through Land Information New Zealand (LINZ).

What are the steps involved in subdivision?

Firstly, apply to the relevant local authority for subdivision consent. As mentioned above, a subdivision will need to meet resource consent land use requirements and the rules in the district plan regarding what types of subdivision activities are allowed in the zone the land is located in.

A Lawyer and Surveyor are engaged prior to making the application in order to:

(a)            Review the certificate of title for the land and advise on the effect of any interests registered on the title;

(b)            Check the rules, policy and zoning requirements in the district plan;

(c)            Investigate any topographical or physical constraints of the land;

(d)            Engage specialist engineers or consultants for any necessary specialist reports that could relate to, for example, geotechnical, soil condition, foundations, access or traffic impact assessment;

 (e)           Investigate existing services (such as power, water and sewerage) and what services will be required; and

 (f)             Prepare the draft scheme plan after inspecting and measuring the proposed subdivision site.

The application is then submitted to the local authority with the scheme plan. For a simple subdivision 20 working days is the standard timeframe for a response from the Tauranga City Council, but that can be extended if the local authority request further information.

Second, a successful application will comply with the district plan and the local authority will grant consent, usually subject to conditions.  These conditions relate to things that must be done as part of your subdivision to satisfy the local authority's requirements.

In most cases, you will also be required to pay development contributions as part of your consent. Development contributions are financial contributions towards infrastructure and can be significant amounts. These should be factored into the budgeting for a subdivision.

You should provide your lawyer and surveyor/planner with a copy of the consent and they can advise you on the effect of the conditions. There is a 15-working-day timeframe from date of consent to object to the local authority if you have concerns regarding the conditions imposed. 

The next step is to complete the conditions imposed by the local authority for a Section 224(c) Certificate, which generally involve the physical works for driveway, curbs, drainage and the installation of utilities and services and the registration of legal documentation by the lawyer. 

These could include, for example, easements, rights of way, consent notices, or land covenants that continue to apply to some or all of the titles once subdivided. Land covenants are common with large residential subdivisions to restrict the type of building and activities within the subdivision development. However, they add value by maintaining the developer's desired standard of the subdivision.

The local authority will issue 224 certification once conditions are met and development contributions are paid. This approval enables Land Information New Zealand to issue new titles (see below).

It is now time for your surveyor to carry out the formal measuring of the subdivision, pegging of boundaries and preparation of the land transfer plan (the LT plan), which will also contain easements, rights of way, roads or reserves if any are required under the conditions of the subdivision consent.

The surveyor applies to the local authority for approval of the LT plan, known as a Section 223 Certificate, which confirms that the survey plan is in accordance with the resource consent. Often the applications for the Section 223 and 224(c) Certificates are filed at the same time. Once you have these certificates, these can be lodged with the LT plan with Land Information New Zealand for registration.

Lastly, your lawyer prepares and finalises the legal documentation so that once the Section 223 and 224(c) Certificates are obtained an electronic dealing is set up and processed on the LINZ network to register any easements, encumbrance, land covenants and register or discharge any other interests required for the new titles and order new titles.

The LT plan, section 223 Certificate, section 224(c) Certificate and all documents referred to above are generally lodged together for LINZ to process with a fast-track request (which generally means a response from LINZ within 10 working days).

Once LINZ grants approval, the LT plan deposits and the new certificates of title are issued.

Useful Tips

Speak to the relevant local authority early to get its input on the proposed development so they can provide guidance on any parameters or potential issues from the outset. Also, good communication between the lawyer and the surveyor is essential throughout the process to ensure that the legal documentation is prepared and signed by the relevant parties to be received by the lawyer in time for issuance of the section 223 and 224(c) Certificates for timely lodging with LINZ to ensure no delays occur with the issuance of the titles.

(Article published in The Ultimate Property magazine winter edition 2016)

Two into one will go. An overview of land subdivision

Tighter rules on property investors unveiled 22 July 2016

Tighter rules on property investors unveiled

An attempt by the Reserve Bank to put a lid on New Zealand's spiralling property prices will see property investors needing a 40 per cent deposit under tough new restrictions revealed.

Restrictions to lending limits on residential properties are also being extended nationwide with all new loan-to-value ratios (LVRs) taking effect on September 1. Read more here.

The Reserve Bank introduced LVRs of 20 per cent in 2013 to rein in the housing market, and last year it raised the limits to 30 per cent for investors in Auckland.

It will consult on the changes until August 10.

Harris Tate director and Tauranga Property Investors Association president Grant Harris unpacks all the information you need to know and the possible spin-offs associated for Tauranga in a Q&A styled format below.

What repercussions could these new lending restrictions have for investors?

It is important to distinguish between property speculators/traders and long term property investors. Whilst the new LVR policies will impact on all investors they are likely to have a bigger impact on the short term speculators/traders than the long term property investors especially those that have been in the market for a long time with large portfolios and access to high equity in their property portfolio. If the LVR restrictions cool the price increases from property speculators then that will be a good thing. Reduced activity from any type of investor would also have a knock on effect for developer’s appetites to develop new properties.

While the restrictions will no doubt provide an opportunity for experienced investors, at the same time it is detrimental to new investors. The other LVR changes will also make it harder for first home buyers.

What could it potentially mean for tenants and the rental supply market?

Long term investors buy property to supply tenants with places to live so restricting investors will reduce the supply of rental properties and no doubt also have a knock on effect of increasing rent and there are already supply and demand issues for rentals in Tauranga.

Tauranga's rental market is strong at the moment could the LVRs put investors off and why?

The restrictions are more likely to cool activity for property speculators/traders that have the intention of buying and selling within a short period of time. Long term property investors will still be affected but will likely have access to high equity in their property portfolio if they have been in the market for a long period of time so these types of investors are less likely to be affected.

At the moment is Tauranga considered to be a good place to invest why/why not?

Tauranga is a good place to invest due to the buoyant economy and its location but there is also lots of demand from those moving from Auckland or investors from other areas where they may find the property prices comparatively cheaper than, for example, Auckland however the rental return on the property is of course a big consideration for the viability of the property as an investment proposition.

Do you agree with the new LVRs for investors why/why not?

Having prudent lending policies in place is a good thing however previous LVR restrictions haven’t cooled the market sufficiently. There are other factors at play in terms of high house prices including high immigration, high demand and low housing supply, and the “trickle-down effect” from Auckland.  Also historically low interest rates are also stoking the housing market. 

Tauranga and other regional cities have seen a clear “trickle-down effect” from Auckland with Auckland buyers purchasing property in the regions which explains the LVR changes are being rolled out nationwide. 

The Reserve Bank is also considering debt to income restrictions which would be sensible and assist with preventing newer investors (and first home buyers) from over extending in a low interest rate environment and then being caught when interest rates inevitably increase (whenever that may be).

The exemptions for loans for the purpose of constructing new dwellings is good however some banks are not lending on construction loans for investment properties.

What is the biggest challenge facing investors/landlords at moment?

Rising house prices will affect the investment return available on residential investment properties depending on the rental return for the property.  Investors also have increased costs including from higher insurance premiums and costs associated with new compulsory smoke alarm and insulation regulations. Ultimately in most cases increased costs get passed on to tenants as higher rent.

Could some investors just sell up and what would this mean?

No, long term “buy and hold” investors are unlikely to sell due to LVR restrictions. The new LVR restrictions won’t have an impact on those investors unless they are borrowing to purchase more property and even then they may no doubt provide an opportunity for experienced investors. High house prices will no doubt appeal to some investors who are looking to sell down part or all of their portfolio.

Tighter rules on property investors unveiled

Tenancy Act shake-up set to keep tenants warmer and safer 15 July 2016

Tenancy Act shake-up set to keep tenants warmer and safer

Warmer, safer houses make for both compliant landlords and happier tenants – positive thinking which is set to come to fruition following changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 earlier this month.

In what is the biggest shake-up to the Act in 30 years, it sees a reform in regards to matters of abandonment, requirement of insulation and smoke alarms in residential rental properties, and provides greater enforcement powers in relation to unsafe or unhealthy properties. 

And while there has been a wealth of commentary on the amendments, as they affect a significant proportion of the population, there are two main points.

The first is smoke alarms (long-life photoelectric alarms), which are to be compulsory in all rentals. Once in place tenants will be responsible for replacing batteries and notifying landlords of defects.

Secondly, all tenancies, including boarding houses, must have ceiling and under-floor insulation with a minimum thickness of 70mm by July 1, 2019. Exemptions apply to properties where it is physically impractical to retrofit insulation.

These are changes the Government believes will make 180,000 homes warmer, drier and 120,000 safer – without imposing excessive bureaucracy or cost.

Penalties of up to $4000 will be imposed on a tenant or landlord for breaches of the amendment, particularly landlords, as it affects their ongoing responsibilities for their rental investments.

We recommend landlords seek specialist and legal advice on the tenancy laws and regulations to protect their position and investment. 

- Sarah Lawson (Licensed Conveyancer)

(Published in The Weekend Sun, July 15, 2016)

Tenancy Act shake-up set to keep tenants warmer and safer

Harris Tate takes day off for a good cause 1 July 2016

Harris Tate takes day off for a good cause

If Harris Tate Lawyers’ offices seem unusually quiet to you in the coming weeks, it might pay to cast your eye outside into the community.

That is where you will find members of the Tauranga law firm giving back to the city through good old-fashioned Kiwi labour, by mucking in at various local businesses and not-for-profit organisations.

Starting this month, each staff member is being encouraged to take a day’s paid leave, to help out at a specific organisation of their choice.

The purpose? To give back to the community that supports one of Tauranga’s leading legal firms. And with approximately 30 staff at Harris Tate, this equates to about 180 hours of voluntary work dedicated to giving back to the community, explains Harris Tate director Oliver Moorcroft.

“‘Day off for good cause’ is an initiative we decided upon earlier this year that not only gives back to the community, but also keeps staff enthusiastic about their work by taking them out of their 9-to-5.

“While this concept is its infancy, we hope to contribute time to the community for the years to come through our corporate volunteering.”

Staff uptake and enthusiasm is already positive with numerous ideas being presented for approval, including mucking in at a local community garden, helping out at the annual SPCA cupcake day, or maintaining mountain biking trails for public use.

Just recently, Legal Assistant Aleyce McLatchie spurred the initiative into action, spending her designated day volunteering in Thailand while on holiday with partner Sam Molloy.

While in Phuket, the pair spent a day volunteering at the Soi Dog Foundation, a large animal refuge facility housing more than 400 dogs and dozens of cats which have been rescued either from the streets of Thailand or from the brutal Asian meat trade.

They were kept busy, assisting with socialising the shelter dogs, which is the main role of volunteers at the facility. Socialisation is an integral part of the animals’ rehabilitation as many are fearful of humans given the cruelties inflicted upon them.

Mr Moorcroft says while this is an exceptional case, it was a fantastic way to start the campaign and is looking forward to the feedback from staff once they have completed their days work.

“We are thrilled to be supporting each of our staff and their affiliations to various pockets of society within Tauranga. 

“Community is the key to a vibrant and thriving city, so it is great to be actively involved in what makes Tauranga tick.”

(Published in The Weekend Sun, July 1, 2016)

Harris Tate takes day off for a good cause

What you need to know: new insulation and smoke alarm regulations for rental properties 1 July 2016

What you need to know: new insulation and smoke alarm regulations for rental properties

From July 1 all landlords must declare the level of insulation in their properties.

Under the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill, they will then have three years to ensure their properties meet minimum insulation standards.

Housing New Zealand properties however must meet the new standards by July 1 this year.

At the same time all landlords are responsible for ensuring smoke alarms are installed.

The Government believes these law changes will make homes warmer, drier and safer without imposing excessive bureaucracy or cost.

At Harris Tate we have compiled a concise list of all you need to know:

Insulation regulations

Landlords

  • By July 1 this year, all landlords must declare the level of insulation in their rental properties
  • All tenancies, including boarding houses, must have ceiling and under-floor insulation with a minimum thickness of 70mm by July 1, 2019
  • Housing New Zealand rental properties must have the new standard of insulation by July 1 2016
  • The new standards apply to habitable spaces - garages and storage spaces are excluded. Under-floor insulation applies to suspended wooden floors. If a property sits on a concrete slab, that counts as insulation
  • There are three exemptions to the new insulation rules: if a property's physical design makes it impractical to retrofit; if a property is sold and immediately rented back to the former owner-occupier, like properties NZTA has bought for roading projects; and properties which are due to be demolished or substantially rebuilt

Tenants

  • If tenants have a problem with insufficient insulation they can take a case to the Tenancy Tribunal. The Tribunal can order damages of up to $3000
  • If there is a severe breach of the Residential Tenancy Act alleged, or significant risk to tenants, the Government can investigate and take direct action against landlords

Smoke alarm regulations

Landlords

  • Landlords are responsible for installing smoke alarms and checking they are operational at the start of tenancies
  • There must be a minimum of one working smoke alarm in the hall or similar, within three metres of each bedroom door
  • In a self-contained sleep-out, caravan or similar, a minimum of one working smoke alarm is required
  • When installing or replacing alarms, the new one must be a photoelectric alarm
  • Long-life photoelectric alarms cost approximately $40 and last for up to 10 years
  • The new standards apply to all residential tenancies, including boarding houses, and caravans or cabins that are tenanted for longer than 28 days

Tenants

  • Tenants are responsible for replacing batteries and notifying landlords if there are defects
  • If tenants have a problem with smoke alarms which a landlord isn’t addressing, they can take a case to the Tenancy Tribunal. The Tribunal can order damages of up to $3000
  • If there is a severe breach of the Residential Tenancy Act alleged, or significant risk to tenants, the Government can investigate and take direct action against landlords

 

 

What you need to know: new insulation and smoke alarm regulations for rental properties

Contact Us

Offices

Harris Tate Lawyers
29 Brown Street
Tauranga, New Zealand

07 578 0059
admin@harristate.co.nz

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Harris Tate Lawyers
PO Box 1147
Tauranga, New Zealand
Or, DX Link HP40005 Tauranga

 

Directors

David Foster

07 571 3668
david@harristate.co.nz

Grant Harris

07 571 3666
grant@harristate.co.nz

Katrina Hulsebosch

07 928 0881
katrina@harristate.co.nz

Oliver Moorcroft

07 571 3663
oliver@harristate.co.nz

Lawyers

Ross Harris

07 571 3660
ross@harristate.co.nz

Michelle Carabine

07 571 3664
michelle@harristate.co.nz

Nicole Wong

07 571 3661
nicole@harristate.co.nz

John Delaney

07 928 0884
john@harristate.co.nz

Legal Executives

Lesley Monteiro

07 471 3662
lesley@harristate.co.nz

Brierley Conquer

07 928 0993
brierley@harristate.co.nz

Glenice Ryan

07 571 3665
glenice@harristate.co.nz

Jess Holtom

07 928 0880
jess@harristate.co.nz

Tash Ogilvy

07 928 0889
tasha@harristate.co.nz

Andrea Lilley

07 571 3669
andrea@harristate.co.nz

Law Clerk and Licensed Conveyancer

Sarah Lawson

07 928 0887
sarah@harristate.co.nz

 

Practice Manager

Robyn Smillie

07 928 0882
robyn@harristate.co.nz

 

 

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