Proposed changes to Unit Titles Act 1972
28 April 2008 Media Statement
Summary of proposed changes to Unit Titles Act 1972
The body corporate will own the common property, enabling it to act on behalf of all the unit owners for the good of the development as a whole in terms of repair and maintenance. The definition of common property will be broadened to include building elements that affect more than one unit. This will mean, for example, that if an apartment block has a leaky roof it will be the body corporate’s responsibility to fix it, rather than the responsibility of the owner of the top floor apartment.
Large, staged or mixed-use unit title developments will be able to be ‘layered’ – i.e., a unit within a unit title development will be able to be developed as a subsidiary unit title development with its own body corporate. For example, an apartment block, shopping centre and carpark building in a multi-use development could each have its own subsidiary body corporate to manage the interests of each group of owners. Each subsidiary body corporate will be a member of a head body corporate
Survey and title processes for surveyors and developers will be streamlined. For example, developers will be able to comply with subdivision consents in stages rather than having to meet all conditions at the outset of the development.
The need for unanimous body corporate decisions will be removed. Decisions will be able to be based on 75 percent agreement by those who vote at a body corporate meeting. It will also prevent holdouts, and will mean those who do not vote will not be able to hold up the process. The reduction in the voting threshold will be supported by a robust process to ensure those who disagree with the motion can apply to have their views heard through mediation, adjudication or the courts.
Bodies corporate will be required to establish long-term maintenance plans to protect the long-term value of the development. This will enable unit owners to plan for and pay a regular amount for maintenance over time.
Disputes will be able to be dealt with through mediation or adjudication in the Tenancy Tribunal in the first instance, rather than solely through the courts, making resolution faster and cheaper.
Disclosure requirements will be introduced for purchasers, unit owners and the body corporate to enable them to make informed choices. For example, developers will be required to provide information on the construction, systems and infrastructure of buildings to the body corporate. A purchaser will be entitled to a list of information they can view on request such as body corporate rules, audited accounts and maintenance plans.