Monday, April 22, 2024

New protections bedded down for apartment owners

Apartment owners and buyers will soon have greater protections as further changes to the law on unit titles come into effect, Housing Minister Chris Bishop said today.

“These changes will help New Zealanders to get onto the property ladder by giving them more confidence when buying an apartment. The Government is determined to see more New Zealanders in homeownership, and I believe updating this Act is an important step towards that goal,” said Mr Bishop.

The Unit Titles (Strengthening Body Corporate Governance and Other Matters) Amendment Act had already introduced some changes in December 2022 and May 2023, and further changes are set to take effect on 9 May 2024, the Minister confirmed.

The provisions to take effect on 9 May strengthen the long-term maintenance regime, clarify terms in the contract of service with a body corporate manager and introduce powers for the regulator MBIE. This last stage will also include new regulations, including: 

  • the types of information required to be provided to MBIE on request;
  • electronic voting rules and procedures;
  • clarification around proxy voting procedures and requirements in the pre-purchase disclosure statements for off-the-plan units.  

“Originally progressed by Nicola Willis in Opposition, the Act strengthens protections for people who purchase and own unit title properties such as apartments. Kiwis will now get greater transparency and better governance through their bodies corporate,” said Mr Bishop.

“Apartments have traditionally been good starter homes for first home buyers who want to get onto the property ladder.

“These changes will ensure prospective buyers have legal rights to a far more comprehensive disclosure regime and to information about the building in which they buy an apartment or a unit title. 

“These policy decisions have been made with careful consideration of the capacity and capability of bodies corporate, delivering the smallest impact on compliance costs as possible.”

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