What does Fee Simple mean?

16 March, 2023 | Kandice Moore

Fee simple is often referred to as “an estate in fee simple” or “freehold”. (Freehold not to be confused with having no mortgage).   Fee simple is a legal term used on property titles. There are a number of different estates or ‘bundled rights’ for land in New Zealand and ‘fee simple’ is one of those types of estates. A fee simple estate is currently the most common type of estate in New Zealand and gives owners the most freedom in how to use their property.


The advantages of fee simple is that you essentially have unlimited use of what you can do with the land (subject of course to other easements on the title, Council bylaws and consent requirements).  With other types of title such as a cross lease title and unit title or stratum estate, you often have to obtain consent from the neighbouring owners, and there are other restrictions and complications associated with the title.  Basically, by saying that the property is “an estate in fee simple” or a “fee simple” property, what you are being told is that the property is NOT a cross lease or the other types of more complicated property types.


While a fee simple property is the least complicated in terms of restrictions to what you can and an can’t do with a property (compared to cross leases and unit titles), it can still have extra restrictions in the form of covenants, caveats etc.

For example: An owner can also register what are called “restrictive covenants” against their title to restrict future owners as to what they can build on the land.  This is most common for example, where an owner owns a large parcel of land (lot) and is subdividing it into smaller parcels (lots) and wants to place height restrictions on the future lot owners so they can protect their view. There may already be covenants registered against the title to the property that impose these restrictions so you should make sure you are aware of these by having your legal advisor search and review the title for you.

Looking to secure your slice of New Zealand property? Don’t navigate the complexities alone. Property investment can be a life-changing decision, and having the right guidance is imperative. Our expert, Kandice, is here to help you navigate the intricate landscape of property ownership. With a deep understanding of New Zealand’s real estate market, Kandice can provide personalized insights to ensure you make informed decisions. Whether you’re a first-time buyer, looking for an investment property, or considering upgrading your space, Kandice is your trusted partner.

Reach out to Kandice today to schedule a consultation and discover how her expertise can streamline your property buying journey. Your dream property is within reach, and Kandice’s advice can make all the difference. Act now to secure your future in New Zealand’s vibrant real estate market.

Contact Kandice:

Call: 09 837 6884

Email: kandice.reilly@smithpartners.co.nz 

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