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The new Unit Titles Act - August 2010

The new Unit Titles Act 2010

Clients who own apartments or townhouses which are part of a Body Corporate need to be aware that a new Unit Titles Act has passed this year which repeals and replaces the Units Titles Act 1972.  The old Act was passed at a time when most unit title developments were small scale and simple residential type flats.  In recent times unit title developments have become much more complex containing many units which can be a mixture of residential, commercial and retail.  While the new Act has been passed it is not yet in force and will not come into force until the regulations came into force, expected within the next year.

Some of the key changes in the new Act are:

  • In the old Act major decisions could only be made with unanimous agreement of all owners.  Under the new Act the decision making process only requires 75% support and if the resolution is an ordinary matter, only 50% support is required.
  • Under the old Act the Body Corporate was responsible for the repair of the common property.  Under the new Act the repair provisions have been beefed up and the Body Corporate is responsible for maintaining and repairing or renewing all of the "building elements” and infrastructure which serves more than one unit.  Building elements include the internal and external components of the building that are necessary to the structure and integrity of the building for example, roof, balcony, decks, cladding systems and foundation systems.  Infrastructure includes pipes, wires, ducts, sewerage and drainage services.  Individual unit owners will still be responsible for maintaining building elements and infrastructure which only affects their unit.
  • Body Corporates are now required to implement a long term maintenance plan which is to identify and budget for future maintenance requirements and must also establish a long term maintenance fund unless 75% of the owners decide that they do not want to do that.
  • The Body Corporate will now own the common property which means that the Body Corporate can sell the common or lease the common property.  However the Body Corporate cannot mortgage common property.
  • Disclosure requirements – this part of the Act will have impact on any owner who sells a unit.  The Act sets out information which the owner must provide potential purchasers at various stages in the sale process:
    1. When the purchaser enters into the Agreement a pre-contract disclosure statement must be provided;
    2. Five days before settlement a pre-settlement disclosure statement must be provided;
    3. If the purchaser requests it, the owner is required to provide an additional disclosure statement at the purchaser’s cost.

The contents of the disclosure statements have not yet been determined and will be set out in the regulations which are currently being developed.  We anticipate that it will require owners to provide significantly more information to prospective purchasers than is currently provided. 

If you would like more information regarding the new Unit Titles Act please contact Tony Walker, partner on 303 9916, email tony@lawworksnz.com or Sarah Edmondson, Associate on 303 9915, email sarah@lawworksnz.com  

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