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  1. #1

    Default Body corporate question

    Can anyone tell me who polices the laws a body corporate acts under? I think it's called the unit titles act.

    The situation I'm trying to figure out involves a body corporate that issues a formal notice that it doesn't have any legal actions pending against it. The problem here is that the body corporate does have an action pending against it and yet it is issuing certificates stating that it doesn't.

    I guess an individual could take it to court but that's got to be horribly expensive.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Palmerston North


    The operation of a Body Corporate formed as the umbrella entity of unit title properties is prescribed by the Unit Titles Act 1972 (UTA). It can be downloaded from the government legislation site. Google “Unit Titles Act 1972”. You can download the whole Act as a pdf file (2.5 MB). Any owner of a unit title property should hold the Act either in hard copy or on a computer so that it can be referenced when issues arise. My experience is that most owners in Body Corporate situations know little of the UTA and that is one of the reasons why some Body Corporates become dysfunctional when those running the Body Corporate spiral out of control.

    The Act is administered by the Ministry of Justice but I am not sure to what extent MoJ “police” it.

    When a unit titles property is sold, the Secretary of the Body Corporate on request, issues a Section 36 certificate to the buyer, usually through his/her solicitor. That is a certification of proprietor’s liability. It short, it should disclose all known liabilities that the new owner will face including levy and in particular, whether anything is known that commits the Body Corporate to expenditure that will have an impact on the new owner. Specifically, among other things, the s 36 Certificate requires the Secretary to certify whether the Body Corporate has received notice that any proceedings are pending against it. If a s 36 Certificate has false details, I would start by writing to the Secretary who issued the certificate asking for an explanation. If that is unsatisfactory, and it looks like an offence under the Crimes Act is disclosed by the facts (perhaps dishonestly using a document), then a complaint to the police might produce a result. Or you may need to take legal advice.

    You are a proprietor. You, and the other proprietors ARE the Body Corporate. If it is a large Body Corporate, your individual influence will be small. If it is a small Body Corporate (say 12 units), it may not be too difficult to wind up enough support from other proprietors to change the way the Body Corporate operates.
    The other useful thing to know is that unless it has been changed by a unanimous resolution of the Body Corporate, UTA Schedule 2 cl 12 (e) gives you access to records held by the Secretary. You should use this provision if gaining information about what your Body Corporate is doing becomes an issue.

    I hope I have helped.


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