Archive | Unit titles

Unit Titles Amendment Bill passes second reading

The Unit Titles Amendment Bill, intended to clarify & simplify parts of the law for bodies corporate & unit owners, has passed its second reading in Parliament.

Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith said: “This bill will reduce costs for prospective buyers needing to access body corporate documents as part of the sale & purchase process. It will enable buyers to select only those documents they require rather than receiving a stack of standardised documents that just adds cost.

“The bill also includes a fast & effective way to recover unpaid levies for body corporates. These issues will now be able to be dealt with by the Tenancy Tribunal.”

The bill was previously part of the Statutes Amendment Bill but was turned into a standalone bill on the recommendation of the government administration committee.

Attribution: Ministerial release.

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New Unit Titles Act in force

Published 21 June 2011

The Unit Titles Act came into force yesterday and Housing Minister Phil Heatley described it as a game changer.

"When the act was originally drafted in 1972 the market was nowhere near as complex as it is now. The new act will bring unit title developments into line with today’s property market.”

In mid-2010, there were 120,000 units in 18,500 unit title developments.

"The revised act aims to ensure that the diverse & complex range of unit title developments can be managed more effectively. It will also provide a clear & flexible mechanism for both simple & complex developments to be created in the future.”

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Attribution: Ministerial release, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Unit Titles Act regulations discussion paper released

Published 29 April 2010

Housing Minister Phil Heatley released a discussion paper yesterday on proposed regulations to support the new Unit Titles Act. Submissions close on Thursday 10 June.


Mr Heatley said the new legislation, passed on 1 April, provided much more clarity around how a unit-title development works and had the flexibility to allow unit owners to make their own decisions about how their development is run.


This discussion document calls for feedback on 3 sections – required regulations, possible regulations and forms & certificates.


Required regulations are on governance structures, management & maintenance, financial statements & disclosure requirements. The section on possible regulations covers long-term maintenance plans, body corporate management & body corporate committees.


Link: Discussion document


Want to comment? Go to the forum.


Attribution: Ministerial release, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Unit Titles Act passed, but some tidying still needed

Published 7 April 2010

Parliament passed the Unit Titles Act 2010 – the primary legislation relating to the creation & management of developments such as apartment blocks – on 1 April, but some technical & operational details must be sorted out before it comes into force.


Building & Construction Minister Maurice Williamson said people who lived & worked in unit-title developments had been waiting a long time for this bill to be passed: "The previous act was nearly 40 years old and the building development & property management market has undergone massive change during that time.


"Under the old act, bodies corporate needed unanimous agreement to undertake any maintenance or repairs on buildings. That might have been appropriate when apartment buildings only had half a dozen units, but is too restrictive in a building with 100 units or more. Under the new law, this is changed to a 75% agreement threshold."


Mr Williamson said the Unit Titles Act was a small but integral part of a package of solutions the Government was looking at for people living in leaky apartment buildings.


He said the Department of Building & Housing would release a discussion document for public comment on the remaining detailed issues.


The most significant changes in the new act are to:

clarify the definition of a principal unit, which must contain or be contained in a buildingstreamline the process under which a development is built in stagescreate a “sensible & fair” system for calculating how much a unit owner should contribute to body corporate common fundsstate that the body corporate owns the common propertyclarify & articulate the rights & responsibilities of unit owners & bodies corporatecreate fair & transparent governance & management structures lower the voting threshold for body-corporate decisions from a unanimous resolution to a 75% agreement provide a comprehensive disclosure regime for buyers & sellers, developers & bodies corporate, andprovide a fully integrated & cost-effective dispute resolution service for unit-title disputes, through the Tenancy Tribunal.

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Attribution: Ministerial release, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Unit Titles Bill reported back

Published 7 September 2009

Parliament’s social services committee reported back the Unit Titles Bill on 2 September, with a recommendation that it become law at a specific date so regulations can be developed, rather than the usual 6 months after royal assent is given.


The bill is intended to replace the 1972 Unit Titles Act, introducing a new legal framework for joint ownership of land, buildings & facilities.


Website: Select committee report & bill


Want to comment? Go to the forum.


Attribution: Parliamentary release, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Unit Titles Bill report due in September

Published 29 April 2009

The Unit Titles Bill has been sent to Parliament’s Social Services Committee, which is due to report back on 5 September. Submissions closed on Friday 24 April.

  The bill repeals & replaces the 1972 Unit Titles Act “to provide a new legal framework for the joint ownership & management of land, buildings & facilities on a socially & economically sustainable basis by communities of individual owners”.   Websites: Unit Titles Bill   Want to comment? Email [email protected].   Attribution: Parliamentary notice, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Unit Titles Bill into Parliament soon

Published 29 April 2008

Building & Construction Minister Shane Jones said this week he would introduce the Unit Titles Bill to Parliament soon. The bill will replace the Unit Titles Act 1972


Among the tricks the bill is designed to overcome is the contract the developer locks the body corporate into, which may be costly & unfair and which the unit owners can’t escape: “The bill will help these unit owners by providing access to dispute resolution services so they can renegotiate the contract or, if the contract is really unfair, have it cancelled.


“I’ve also heard from people who are facing huge one-off levies for big-ticket maintenance costs, like getting a new roof. Some people find it hard to come up with this kind of money, especially if they are on a fixed income or have mortgage payments to meet. The bill will prevent these sorts of situations arising because the body corporate will be required to plan for maintenance and unit owners will contribute to future costs on a yearly basis.”


Mr Jones said the bill would help people living in a leaky building, especially those going through the repairs process: “Unit owners have come to me because they live in leaky buildings and are trying to get repairs done, but the process is frustrated by one or 2 unit owners who don’t think they should be paying to repair the building. While the body corporate tries to sort out the argument, the building continues to deteriorate and unit owners have to live every day in a leaky home. The bill will empower the body corporate to act for the development as a whole and get the repairs done.”


Mr Jones said the review included consultation on 2 discussion documents to find out how unit owners, bodies corporate & the property development sector thought the act should be changed.


New Zealand has an estimated 16,422 unit-title developments containing 95,416 units. 88% of the developments contain 9 or fewer units. 70% of all unit-title developments are residential and the rest are commercial, industrial and a small number in the horticultural, agricultural & mining sectors.


Earlier stories:

6 December 2006: Cosgrove introduces multi-unit & tenancy law changes

25 June 2006: ARC chairman hooping for Asian happiness

12 May 2006: Call for submissions on Unit Titles Act proposals

7 June 2005: Action closer on unit titles review


Want to comment? Email [email protected]

Attribution: Ministerial release, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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Cosgrove introduces multi-unit & tenancy law changes

Published 6 December 2006

Building Issues Minister Clayton Cosgrove has announced a package of reforms for the 1972 Unit Titles Act & 1986 Residential Tenancies Act.

The reforms aim to ensure a fairer rental market and establish a broader & more adaptable framework for multi-unit living through a complete revamp of the Unit Titles Act.The proposed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act include:

limiting the liability of tenants for damage they didn’t cause and could not reasonably have prevented
extending the coverage of the act and access to tenancy dispute resolution services to sectors of the community not currently protected.

But Mr Cosgrove said landlords wouldn’t lose out: “They will be getting more damages from the people most at fault, rather than from innocent tenants who have done no damage.”He said extending access to tenancy dispute resolution services was another step in creating a fairer rental market: “Everyone who rents – tenants & landlords alike – should have the same support when sorting out tenancy problems. Tenancies in retirement villages, boarding houses & other tenancies with a high service component such as supported living have been brought into the legislation to ensure a fair go for all. The aim is to deliver fast, fair & inexpensive dispute resolution.”The Residential Tenancies Act come on top of another package Mr Cosgrove announced in September. Key principles of the proposed new legislation on multi-unit properties include:

clarity around the rights & obligations of unit owners & bodies corporate
encouraging sound property management practices that will protect long-term value & investments
making joint decision-making by the body corporate easier
effective ways to sort out problems
making information more readily available to purchasers & unit owners so they can make informed choices
making survey & title processes more streamlined for surveyors & developers
allowing large, staged or complex developments to be set up & managed more easily.

The minister expects to introduce 2 separate bills into Parliament next year.

Auckland Regional Council regional strategy & planning committee chairman Paul Walbran said the proposed reforms could be further strengthened so the legislation recognises the differences between the different unit titles (residential, commercial, industrial, holiday accommodation, mixed activities) because they all had different issues & needs.Want to comment? Click on The new BD Central Forum or email [email protected].

Attribution: Ministerial release, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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Call for submissions on Unit Titles Act proposals

Published 11 May 2006

Building Issues Minister Clayton Cosgrove released a discussion document, Unit Titles Act: Options for change, on 2 May and the Auckland Regional Council has followed that up by urging owners of multi-unit property to have their say.

Submissions close on Friday 2 June.

Mr Cosgrove said the act was “a seriously outdated piece of legislation that no longer meets the needs of users, or owners, of multi-unit residential or commercial buildings.”Discussion document proposals include:

redefining the responsibilities of bodies corporate & unit owners
suggested improvements to decision-making & dispute resolution processes
changed definitions for common property & unit entitlement, and
enhanced consumer protection measures.

“These & other proposals, including possible mandatory long-term financial maintenance & repair planning by bodies corporate and mandatory information disclosure by developers, bodies corporate & unit sellers, came out of the initial public consultation early last year.

“The review process – and this key second consultation period – is crucial to getting the public’s views to ensure we achieve an act flexible enough to keep up with the fast-changing environment of multi-unit building developments.”

Cllr Paul Walbran, chairman of the regional council’s regional strategy & planning committee, said the review was expected to result in changes to voting rights, long-term maintenance, body corporate rules and the way expenses are shared (unit entitlement).

“This affects tens of thousands of Aucklanders who own or live in an apartment, town house or unit, as well as the industries that build, sell, manage & maintain them,” he said.

The review also applies to commercial & industrial unit-titled property and will affect businesses & investors.

The regional council & Auckland Regional Growth Forum brought the issue into public focus in 2003 by lobbying the Government, with the support of apartment owners, bodies corporate and the wider development & property industry. 

The Government responded by launching its review of the act.

The regional council has held education seminars over the last 2 years and has published a guide to help unit owners understand the workings of bodies corporate and the existing act.  

Website: Unit titles review


Want to comment? Click on The new BD Central Forum or email [email protected].


Attribution: Minister’s statement, ARC release, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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Action closer on unit titles review

Published: 7 June 2005

A reference group the Department of Building & Housing has appointed to evaluate submissions on the Unit Titles Act will hold its first meeting on Friday 10 June, when it will identify key issues, evaluate dispute resolution models and consider overseas comparisons & body corporate models.

The Property Council mentioned that point in its latest newsletter, while law firm Alexander Dorrington, in its latest newsletter, went on to discuss some of the changes suggested in the review of the act.

It expects the act to rein developers in, particularly on contentious matters such as appointing property managers under long-term agreements so the new body corporate can’t make its choices.

Alexander Dorrington also expects a high degree of consumer protection – compulsory sinking funds and requirements for bodies corporate to have trust accounts.

Also on the review agenda are:

broader disclosure statements by developers for buyers
review of the way unit titles are created – the boundary definition might be changed and the method of measurement might be more tightly prescribed
relative values might be reconsidered to calculate unit entitlements
the cost of some common property, such as lifts, mightn’t be borne by all owners
developers might become liable for a share of body corporate costs while they continue to hold units, and
different types of development might have different types of body corporate.

Alexander Dorrington also mentioned that the Law Commission’s proposal for mandatory conversion of cross-lease schemes within 10 years was still live.

If you want to comment on this story, write to the BD Central Discussion forum or send an email to [email protected].

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