The previous update to the law, the Unit Titles Act 2010, was a
welcome attempt, but was in many ways an imperfect beast. A number
of technical amendments have been made to the Unit Titles Act 2010
with the passing of the Unit Titles Amendment Act 2013 on 5
December 2013. The most important changes include:
It has now been clarified that a majority of votes (i.e. at
least 51%) will be needed to pass an ordinary resolution. This
removes the head-scratching scenario under the Unit Titles Act 2010
whereby an ordinary resolution could be passed with 50% support
(even though that necessarily meant that 50% of voters did not
support the motion). It is unfortunately still unclear whether
voting is based on 'one vote per unit' or on ownership
It has now been clarified that a purchaser who wants an
Additional Disclosure Statement can request specific information
only if they wish i.e. request some but not all of what would
normally be required by an Additional Disclosure Statement. This
will cut the cost of producing this information, and prevent owners
having to provide information which the purchaser might regard as
It has been clarified that the Tenancy Tribunal is able to hear
disputes relating to unpaid levies. Previously a body corporate had
no choice but to apply directly to the courts and so the cost of
pursing the arrears often outweighed the amount actually owed.
The wording of section 138 of the Unit Titles Act 2010 has been
tweaked to make it clear that a body corporate is required to
repair and maintain (and now replace where necessary) the common
property, assets used in conjunction with the common property,
other assets of the body corporate, and any building elements and
infrastructure which relate to or serve more than one unit.
While the Unit Titles Amendment Act 2013 has made some useful
changes, many commentators were concerned that it did not go far
enough. As a result the Ministry of Business Innovation and
Employment has announced that a second more substantial review will
be shortly forthcoming. The Ministry will seek submissions from
interested lawyers, agents, property managers and unit owners.
Personal liability of body corporate chairperson or
Finally, there has been an important update in case law as it
relates to the potential liability of a body corporate chairperson
and/or members of a body corporate committee. As you will be aware,
the Unit Titles Act 2010 requires that a body corporate must
appoint a chairperson. It is also often useful, particularly in
larger unit title developments, to delegate many of the body
corporate's powers to an appointed committee.
The body corporate chairperson and committee members appointed
under the Act now have significant responsibilities placed on them.
The recent court case of Guardian Retail Holdings Limited v Buddle
Findlay held that a body corporate chairperson or committee member
may be personally liable if they act in a manner which is
inconsistent with the Unit Titles Act 2010, even if the mistake was
innocent or made with the best intentions.
We recommend that a unit owner thinks very carefully about
becoming a chairperson or joining the committee unless they are
comfortable that the body corporate has an adequate level of
appropriate insurance cover in place for its officers.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Please briefly describe the main laws that govern real estate in your jurisdiction.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).