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Unit Titles Act 2010

The Unit Titles Act 1972 was repealed on June 20 2011with the bringing into force of the Unit Titles Act 2010.

The Act provides a new toolbox of tools for surveyors, developers, solicitors and other land professionals and provides more flexibility to manage complex multi use unit developments than the 1972 Act.  Notable differences between the new and old Act include:

Dispute resolution and Decision making
Dispute resolution under the old Act often required a ruling from the High Court, the new Act allows for the resolution of disputes with the Tenancy Tribunal up to $50,000, the District Court between $50,000 and 200,000 and the High Court above $200,000.  Body Corporate decisions now only require a 75% resolution of the quorum rather than a unanimous resolution.

Body Corporate ownership of common property
Under the new Act the common property in a unit title development will vest in the Body Corporate allowing better administration of the commonly owned areas, the Body Corporate can also sell, lease, licence or acquire land from outside the common property.

Principal unit definition
A principal unit must now include a building and a single car parking spaces can now be a principal units.  There is general acceptance that a building is as defined under the Building Act 1991.

Layered developments
Layered developments are a new concept involving the subdivision of a principal unit; the layered development creates a Body Corporate separate to the original Body Corporate and is particularly useful for the administration of developments with mixed uses.

Ownership and utility interests
Unit entitlements are now known as ownership and utility interests, allowing a differing ownership interest from the interest in administering utilities.  Ownership interests must be determined by a Registered Valuer but not the utility interests.  There is much greater flexibility with the ability to amend interests on a three yearly basis.

Simple redevelopments do not materially affect the common property, involves an adjustment of the unit boundaries and do not increase the number of units.  These are much simpler and do not involve the consent of other unit owners.  A complex redevelopment is much the same process as a redevelopment under the old Act.

Cross lease conversion
Cross lease titles, considered by many to be an inferior title, can now be converted into unit titles without the requirement for a subdivision or RMA consent.  This is subject to the compliance with the requirements of the new Act.  This provides an effective way to convert an existing lease title to freehold.

Staged release of 224c certificates
With the required planning in place the staged release of 224c certificates can be facilitated without the provision of bonds for uncompleted works.
The long-awaited Act offers greater flexibility and protection than its predecessor which has been comprehensively overhauled, the new Act running into some 233 sections compared to 65 sections under the 1972 Act.  The Act will fundamentally influence the way unit title developments are conducted and how unit owners and bodies corporate interact. For advice on any of the matters raised above do not hesitate to contact Mark Parker.

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