What is severance in real estate?

What is severance in real estate?


Severance in real estate refers to the act of separating a piece of land from a larger parcel, creating a new, distinct property. This process involves physically dividing the land and obtaining legal approval to establish separate ownership. Severance can have significant implications for both the original property and the newly created parcel. In this article, we will explore the concept of severance in real estate in more detail, including its purpose, process, and potential consequences.

Purpose of Severance

Land utilization: Severance allows for more efficient land utilization by dividing a larger property into smaller parcels that can be developed or used independently. This can be particularly advantageous in areas where land scarcity is an issue, as it maximizes the potential use of available space.

Ownership rights: Severance grants separate ownership rights to the newly created parcel. This means that the owner of the severed portion can sell, lease, or mortgage the land independently from the original property. It also allows for the possibility of transferring ownership to another party.

The Severance Process

Legal requirements: The process of severance involves complying with specific legal requirements, which may vary depending on the jurisdiction. Generally, it requires obtaining approval from the relevant local authorities, such as the planning department or zoning board. This often includes submitting an application, paying fees, and adhering to specific guidelines and regulations.

Physical division: Once the legal requirements are met, the physical division of the land takes place. This can involve surveying the property to determine the boundaries of the new parcel and physically separating it from the original property. The division may be marked by erecting fences, constructing walls, or creating separate entrances.

Documentation: Alongside the physical division, appropriate documentation must be prepared to establish the new parcel’s legal status. This typically includes creating a new land title or deed for the severed portion, which will be distinct from the original property’s title.

Consequences of Severance

Impact on original property: Severance can have implications for the original property. Depending on local regulations, the remaining portion of the land may be subject to restrictions or limitations due to the severed parcel. For example, setback requirements or building height restrictions may be imposed to ensure adequate space and privacy between the two properties.

Infrastructure and utilities: Severance may require the installation or modification of infrastructure and utilities to accommodate the newly created parcel. This can include extending water, sewer, or electrical lines to the severed portion, which may involve additional costs and considerations.

Financial implications: Severance can have financial implications for both the original property and the newly created parcel. The value of the original property may be affected, as the division could result in a smaller land area or changes in its permitted use. Additionally, the newly created parcel may incur expenses related to the creation of separate infrastructure, legal fees, or taxes.


Severance in real estate is the process of dividing a larger parcel of land to create a new, separate property. It serves the purpose of maximizing land utilization and granting independent ownership rights. The process involves complying with legal requirements, physically dividing the land, and preparing the necessary documentation. Severance can have consequences for both the original property and the newly created parcel, including impacts on land use, infrastructure, and finances.


– National Association of Realtors: www.nar.realtor
– U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: www.hud.gov
– Investopedia: www.investopedia.com