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Review of the Unit Titles Act - submissions by 3 March 2017

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  • Review of the Unit Titles Act - submissions by 3 March 2017

    MBIE is calling for submissions on its review of the UT Act, and has produced a discussion paper with specific issues it would like comment on. Quite a good discussion document I thought, at least compared to the last major one on insulation and smoke alarms which was IMO well below par.

    For current owners or anyone thinking of buying, developing or managing a complex or body corporate it is well worth a read and a chance to have a say. Issues do pop up on Propertytalk from time to time.

    There is supposed to be 'targeted consultation including a series of workshops with key stakeholders
    and engagement with unit owners' December to March. I haven't heard anything at all - has anyone? If I find out more I will post here.

    The review was initiated after a working group of some in the industry set out issues and proposed solutions. Sadly, most of the solutions involved more rules, more registers, more laws and more bureaucracy. The bureaucracy to include a new oversight organisation - like an Ombudsman. (MBIE said nope.) To their credit, MBIE have taken a sensible approach - keep the costs and benefits of compliance proportionate. The discussion document does mention that additional costs of some recommendations would have to be met by unit owners - that'd go down well.

    Some points -

    - There is expected to be a large rise in high density living, especially in Auckland.
    - MBIE is reviewing various sources of UT and BC info to make sure they are consistent, may be gathered up under MBIE control into a definitive source.
    - A look at dispute resolution, with some interesting Tenancy Tribunal stats, with a view to encouraging more mediation and lowering application fees.
    - different compliance requirements depending on size of complex.
    - regs around the occupation of BC manager.
    - change of name of TT to reflect UTs as well.



  • #2
    I have heard back from MBIE re workshops. They will be open to those interested. Email them at the below address and they will send out details when known.

    [email protected]

    Comment


    • #3
      Dates for MBIE Unit Titles Act review workshops are now available (7-16 February)

      As part of the consultation process on the changes proposed in the discussion document, workshops are being held in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. Feedback at these workshops, along with submissions received from the discussion document, will help MBIE develop final proposals for the Government’s consideration.

      Workshops will be held on the following dates:

      Christchurch – Tuesday 7 February 2017
      Wellington – Wednesday 8 and Thursday 9 February 2017
      Auckland – Wednesday 15 February 2017 and Thursday 16 February 2017

      If you are interested in attending one of these workshops, reply to the above MBIE email address by Tuesday 31 January 2017.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have struggled through the "Draft for Consultation".
        For the last 25 years I have been a Body Corporate Secretary for a commercial block. So I was concerned that the proposals would force us out of that position. The proposal of the group was to make all secretaries become members of some sort of professional body. Well if I read the content correctly I think the government has made it clear they are not keen on that idea.
        Do the other readers come to the same conclusion as me?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Glenn View Post
          I have struggled through the "Draft for Consultation".
          For the last 25 years I have been a Body Corporate Secretary for a commercial block. So I was concerned that the proposals would force us out of that position. The proposal of the group was to make all secretaries become members of some sort of professional body. Well if I read the content correctly I think the government has made it clear they are not keen on that idea.
          Do the other readers come to the same conclusion as me?
          I need to reread the discussion doco before the workshop. But I think it depends if there is a BC manager external to the BC. Seems that this is where questions 13 and 14 are aimed. So Glenn is your role external to the BC or part of the BC committee?

          I am chair of a BC committee for a block of 4 units, so need to clearly understand any governance changes. The review is (currently and sensibly) more focused on medium / large complexes but creeping scope and all that. Public servants are pretty good at adding complexity. Simplifying, not so much.

          Not quite clear to me how much overlap there is in the proposals between the BC committee and a BC manager. But I will ask at the workshop, and happy to ask and report back on anything else people want to know.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by artemis View Post
            I need to reread the discussion doco before the workshop. But I think it depends if there is a BC manager external to the BC. Seems that this is where questions 13 and 14 are aimed. So Glenn is your role external to the BC or part of the BC committee?

            I am chair of a BC committee for a block of 4 units, so need to clearly understand any governance changes. The review is (currently and sensibly) more focused on medium / large complexes but creeping scope and all that. Public servants are pretty good at adding complexity. Simplifying, not so much.

            Not quite clear to me how much overlap there is in the proposals between the BC committee and a BC manager. But I will ask at the workshop, and happy to ask and report back on anything else people want to know.
            I am an "internal". The current legislation permits the BC for small blocks (mine has three) elect to not have meetings and not have a bank account. So we keep costs to zero. We do have to do a little bit of work on behalf of the other two owners like organizing the insurance, and common maintenance but by doing it ourselves it takes no effort. What it costs us in effort on behalf of the others is way less than we would need to spend to organize someone else to do it.
            The proposal was to make all those actions go via an external body such as a real estate agent, lawyer, or chartered accountant.
            I must admit just last year for the first time in 25 years one of the units sold. The new owner had to be brought into line by making him share in the common insurance policy. I checked out the mechanism for forcing him to pay up via the tenancy tribunal. I discovered that the application fee was $850. Little wonder hardly any applications are made. I do notice that the proposal is to reduce the fee so perhaps MBIE want to increase the number of applications!

            Comment


            • #7
              In my case having levies and a bank account etc works as it makes it easy for the owner to be paid for work done on common area maintenance etc. (There is only one owner.)

              The TT fee is steep but probably fair for cost recovery. Not that I would object if it is reduced, especially for small complexes. Are fees for RTA applications subsidised? I wondered if through bond interest.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by artemis View Post
                Are fees for RTA applications subsidised? I wondered if through bond interest.
                Correct - and the TT states that somewhere.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Wellington sessions- times and venue.

                  The 9 February Wellington session is being held from 5.30pm – 8.30pm at MBIE (15 Stout Street). The 8 February session will also be held at MBIE from 11am – 2pm.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Quick update if anyone is interested. I went to the Wellington session yesterday. About 30 people and surprisingly good coffee. A range of people, quite a few Body Corp Managers, reps from industry groups and BC chairs.

                    Most people seemed to want more - rules, regulations, laws, education, seminars, websites, brochures, registration of BC managers, Ombudsman like service with the proviso the government pays.

                    Or less - fees for Tenancy Tribunal applications. With the proviso of no full cost recovery so the government picks up the balance.

                    Reminds me of the old saying - everyone wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by artemis View Post
                      Quick update if anyone is interested. I went to the Wellington session yesterday. About 30 people and surprisingly good coffee. A range of people, quite a few Body Corp Managers, reps from industry groups and BC chairs.

                      Most people seemed to want more - rules, regulations, laws, education, seminars, websites, brochures, registration of BC managers, Ombudsman like service with the proviso the government pays.

                      Or less - fees for Tenancy Tribunal applications. With the proviso of no full cost recovery so the government picks up the balance.

                      Reminds me of the old saying - everyone wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.
                      Interesting. I got the idea that the proposers of the law change wanted to corner the market. Like you must be a REI licensed member to be a secretary. Great way to bring in lots more business for large fees set by themselves and requiring very little skilled work.
                      What did the MBIE people say about the desire for more control.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        What did MBIE say? It wasn't that sort of session - they were there to listen and facilitate discussion. Which I guess was OK as it was a consultation session.

                        One person sitting near me, a BC manager, said he was looking to exit the industry as he could not make a buck.

                        Quite a few folk had anecdotes, but there does not seem to be any quantification of problems and issues, apart from applications to the TT.

                        The Treasury is supposed to require a spot of rigour in cabinet papers (next step), so we shall see. Not holding my breath though.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Glenn View Post
                          I am an "internal". The current legislation permits the BC for small blocks (mine has three) elect to not have meetings and not have a bank account.
                          Hi Glenn - thanks for your post. Just as an aside to the main discussion, can you tell me where the legislation states that? I'd love to be able to get out of having to set up a bank account for our two flat block!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by kiwi99well View Post
                            Hi Glenn - thanks for your post. Just as an aside to the main discussion, can you tell me where the legislation states that? I'd love to be able to get out of having to set up a bank account for our two flat block!
                            Goodness that is a hard question. It is there somewhere! Far better I tell you and everyone else how to find "things".
                            Just bring up the act on your browser and do a search for say "meetings" or "bank accounts"
                            then scroll through all the highlited sections.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Glenn View Post
                              Goodness that is a hard question. It is there somewhere! Far better I tell you and everyone else how to find "things".
                              Just bring up the act on your browser and do a search for say "meetings" or "bank accounts"
                              then scroll through all the highlited sections.
                              Hi Glenn. I have indeed been through the legislation in detail, but do not find any section about not always having to have a bank account (in fact it clearly states the opposite). There is a section about not having a committee (section 112 I think), and I believe this touches on meetings. But the bank account is what I personally want to avoid.

                              I asked you because I genuinely wondered (after reading your post) if I was misreading the legislation. I am not a lawyer. Possibly there was some delegated regulations that I was unaware of, or maybe there were sections that need to be read together.

                              Comment

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