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ARC encourages submissions on Unit Titles Act

ARC encourages submissions on Unit Titles Act review

9 May 2006

The review of the Unit Titles Act, which governs the management of apartments and other multi-unit property, is up for final consultation and the Auckland Regional Council is encouraging people to have their input.

The Unit Titles Act affects the way apartment owners make collective decisions about common property, how multi-unit properties are maintained and how disputes between neighbours and other parties are resolved. The review is 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 and maintain them,” says ARC Regional Strategy and Planning Committee Chair, Paul Walbran.

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

In 2003 the ARC and the Auckland Regional Growth Forum brought the issue into public focus by lobbying government, with the support of apartment owners, body corporates and the wider development and property industry.

Government responded quickly and launched a review of the Unit Titles Act 1972. A discussion document containing proposals around how the Act will be changed was released this week. "Options for Change" has proposals for ensuring long-term maintenance of unit titled property, improving financial management and consumer protection as well as enabling the resolution of disputes, none of which are provided for in the current legislation.

“The current Act was passed in 1972, and is now widely recognised as being grossly outdated and unable to accommodate the more complex unit title development relationships, as well as the variety of developments around today,” says Cr Walbran.

Cr Walbran says that through plans like the Regional Growth Strategy, Auckland’s towns and cities are moving to a more compact form, where design - in both the physical building and the management rules - has to be highly functional and achieve multiple purposes.

“We need to ensure that the new legislation works for all interests - owners, residents, developers, building and body corporate managers - and for all types of multi-unit property. That’s why we’re encouraging people to make submissions. There’s unlikely to be another chance for some time".

The ARC will be submitting to the Department of Building and Housing’s consultation process, which closes on 2 June.

The ARC has held education seminars over the last two years to share information on concepts like bodies corporate and listen to people’s concerns. The ARC has also published a guide to help unit owners understand the workings of bodies corporate and the Act.

The ARC says The Mysteries of Bodies Corporate: A guide to the rights and responsibilities of apartment ownership has been very popular and a reprint is underway. Translation of the guide into Chinese and Korean is being considered.

--

- For a copy of The Mysteries of Bodies Corporate: A guide to the rights and responsibilities of apartment ownership call the ARC on (09) 366 2000 or download a copy from the council website: www.arc.govt.nz/housing-reports

- For more information on the Unit Titles Act, the review document and current consultation process, visit the Department of Building and Housing’s website: www.dbh.govt.nz/unit-titles-review/introduction.html

ENDS

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