Steven Garland, BC General Manager, discusses the update and report of the Unit Titles Amendment Bill
2021 was not the year anyone expected and was largely shaped by the pandemic. Lockdowns, traffic lights, Zoom meetings, vaccinations, home MIQ, births, deaths and inflation. The Body Corporate (BC) team has done a tremendous job in navigating all these challenges and will be taking a well-deserved break over the Christmas and New Year period.
As you may be aware, the APM BC team manages Body Corporate, Cross lease and Residents Society buildings all under varying legislative frameworks. Cross lease properties basically work under the guidance provided by the individual Memorandum of Lease, which means that while you will have a separate lease for your house or flat, you have shared ownership of the entire site. Residents Societies or Association’s operate through a Constitution under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 and Bodies Corporate operate under the Unit Titles Act 2010 and the Unit Titles Regulations 2011.
On Friday the 3rd December the Finance and Expenditure Committee (the Committee) published their report on the proposed Unit Titles Bill – Unit Titles (Strengthening Body Corporate and Other matters) Amendment Bill.
The Select Committee’s report can be seen here – the Commentary section at the beginning (approx. 20 pages) gives the Committee’s explanation regarding why they made some changes to the proposed Bill and not others – which makes interesting reading.
Some of the changes recommended by the Committee include:
- Retaining pre-settlement disclosure but removing the additional disclosure;
- Removing the limit on proxy voting. Instead of limiting the number of proxies a party may hold, the proxy may give direction on how they wish to vote;
- Removing restrictions on remote attendance at meetings and allowing members to vote electronically in advance of a meeting;
- BC’s with 10 or more principal units will be considered a “large” complex and will have certain additional obligations re LTMP’s (the original large and medium classes of buildings have been removed);
- BC’s can reassess their utility interests so they have a “set of interests”, i.e. they can have a different utility interest for each utility;
- Reducing application fees to the Tenancy Tribunal and removing the complex fee structure;
- Increasing the Tenancy Tribunal’s jurisdiction over Unit Titles disputes to $100,000.00;
- A code of conduct for BC Managers has been added (this is to replace the proposal that managers must be a member of a professional body which has been removed); and
- The Tribunal will be able to issue fines for breaches of the UTA, and MBIE’s Chief Executive will have more powers to check compliance and issue “Improvement Notices” to anyone believed to be breaching the UTA.
We now wait for the Government to re-convene next year and for the Bill to move through the rest of the Government’s law-making process. Assuming there is cross party support (which has been indicated previously), we imagine the final Bill that’s passed into law will look very similar to the Select Committee’s proposal. But, we shall have to see.
Our team will remain dedicated to doing our best to support you through these proposed changes in 2022 and beyond. So whether you are a Body Corporate, Cross Lease or Residents’ Society/Association client we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support in what has been a big year, and we wish you all a safe and prosperous New Year.
General Manager – Body Corporate
Auckland Property Management
Feel free to contact our Body Corporate Management team via the contact form below.