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  1. #1

    Lightbulb Adding DECK or PATIO area to a fee simple unit - any advice as deck could make my ti


    I have a brick unit in Mt Eden which is the end one of four. It has 1/4 share of 1585 square meters, most of that land is at my units end and I maintain all this area despite legally only being responsible for a 1/4 share.

    I'd like to add a small deck - detached from the side of the unit by a few inches, then put a privacy screen eg trellis on two sides of this deck. It is not possible to get the written permission of the 3 other owners as one owner lives in China and has never responded to an email, the other owner is in Oz and also does not respond. The third owner has verbally said 'do what you like', but won't respond to requests for letter or email.

    The problem is - I have heard the deck could be unlawful and thereby make my title defective, also other owners could sue me if I go ahead with the small deck.

    Whether the deck not actually being attached to side of unit would invalidate making title defective - i do not know. Does anyone have any ideas?

    An alternative - would be to not build a deck but create a patio - level the area, (coconut fibre weedmat which I have a massive roll of) hardcore, gap 70 compact, lay on several large 1mx 900mm pavers down with white chip in between, edge with railway sleepers, attach trellis.

    I'm thinking that an edged patio like this would not be a 'structure' and not make my tile 'defective' as its really no different from garden landscaping as the components are the same, pavers, stones, railway sleepers, trellis.

    In reality my first pick is the deck but I don't want to be sued especially as Ive read in media of landlords having to pay all rent back to tenant when something is in any way unlawful or unconsented. The patio will be ok as an alternative and if another owner made a stink I could remove all the components and make area into garden or turf it.

    Having rambled on above, I'd also like to add I was chatting to a RE in Mt Eden who reckons she knows of several end units facing big lawns where decks were simply added, no drama. Unlikely to be any problems....

    Any experience, thoughts, ideas would be helpful


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004


    Is it under 1m high?
    Will it affect the other 3 tenants? Will they even even notice it?
    Just build it.

    If they don't like it - what can they do about it?
    The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates and a monthly salary - Fred Wilson.

  3. #3


    Thanks for your reply PC

    The deck will be under 1 m high - does this make a difference to having to get other owners consent?

    It wont affect the other tenants but as some of them walk down the end area it will be noticed.

    What can they do about it:
    The owners of the other units ( all units are tenanted) could sue as theoretically to make the structure legal I need their written consent. Also, I understand technically it could make my title 'defective' (however I will have to find out if this still applies to decks under 1m)

    I would like to 'just build it' but am worried about these potential problems. And as I mentioned in my first post - TT can order LL to pay back the rent to tenants for having an illegal structure - not sure if this applies if deck is under 1m though.

  4. #4


    Cross-lease so you must abide by the flats plan. I don't know the law but I suspect you could make all 4 titles defective by building a deck on common land without approval. Landscaping may be a different issue, but again anything you do on common land 'belongs' to all owners and they have the right to use it (in theory).

  5. #5


    Thanks for your comment MargVan - basic legal research indicated only my unit's title would (poss) become defective so I will definitely look into this further as I would not want to affect others titles.... and be liable.

    Although a deck or patio would 'belong' to all who own a share in the land, I can't see other tenants helping themselves onto a screened deck/ patio next to living room door and windows of my unit and occupied by my tenants family....... although I acknowledge your point - they do have the right to do so.

  6. #6


    you dont have a unit title you have cross lease and everyone is affected by another owner

    the issue must be is this a "structure" and i suggest landscaping with a detached deck is not. What do the cross lease rules say??

    if under 500 high most district plans dont call such a deck a structure?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004


    Quote Originally Posted by John the builder View Post
    you dont have a unit title you have cross lease and everyone is affected by another owner

    the issue must be is this a "structure" and i suggest landscaping with a detached deck is not. What do the cross lease rules say??

    if under 500 high most district plans dont call such a deck a structure?
    Sounds like a plan JTB.

    Of course, to sue, the two absent owners would have to notice.
    Since they are hard to contact they probably wouldn't notice unless it was brought to their attention.
    Them sueing would not come out of the blue - there have been cases in the media that are far, far worse and have taken years.
    At best no one will notice/care, at worst you will have to remove or lower (check the District Plan as JTB suggests) to make is 'landscaping'.


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