About Unit Title and Body Corporate in New Zealand

Matt Wineera, AREINZ
Matt Wineera, AREINZ
Published on July 3, 2019

If you have a unit title property, like an apartment or townhouse, or are thinking of buying one, it’s important to know what’s involved.

Unit title owners own a defined part of a building, such as an apartment, and share common areas such as lifts, lobbies or driveways with other owners.

Residential unit title properties are typically apartment blocks and townhouses. Commercial and industrial types include office blocks, industrial or retail complexes, and shopping malls.

This combination of individual and shared ownership of land and buildings means owning a unit title property involves a different set of rights and responsibilities than free-standing house and land ownership.

Before you buy

Buying a unit title property means sharing common property with other people, and will involve different obligations to other purchases of land. It’s important you know what you are committing to. There are a number of disclosure documents you can request before you buy.

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Find out more about buying a unit title property.

What is a body corporate?

When you purchase a unit, you automatically become a member of the body corporate. All unit owners in a unit title property make up the body corporate, and they must hold an AGM at least once a year to discuss body corporate matters and vote on decisions affecting the complex.

The body corporate is responsible for managing finance and administration relating to the common areas, and the property as a whole.

Find out more about:

  • Body corporate meetings
  • Operational rules
  • Body corporate committees
  • Body corporate chair

Levies and maintenance

The body corporate pays for any maintenance or repairs it carries out through levies on unit owners.

Levies (also called fees or contributions) cover all regular costs for common areas such as insurance, cleaning, gardening, fees for any contracted professionals, and ongoing maintenance.

Find out more about Money and maintenance

What is the Unit Titles Act 2010?

This is the law which governs all unit title properties, and sets out the rules and regulations so they can be managed effectively.

Find out more about how the Act is administered, and the rules and regulations.

Refer to the Unit Title Act 2010 .

How do I resolve a dispute?

If you have a disagreement with the body corporate or another unit owner, the first things to try are:

  • Talking to the other parties to see if a solution can be found
  • Checking whether the body corporate rules cover the situation
  • Requesting a discussion at a body corporate general meeting.

You can call our Service Centre for information on 0800 864 884. We can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities, but we cannot give advice on specific disputes.

If that doesn’t work, you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal.

Find out more about the disputes process.

Short Guide to Unit Titles

This guide outlines your rights and responsibilities, tells you where to find more information, and how to seek help if things go wrong.

Please note that this information is a general guide only, and may not be accurate for all situations. It should not be used as a substitute for legislation or for legal or other expert advice.

All this information and more can be found on Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

Do you have a question on the local Real Estate market, or should you spend money on a renovation of your home before you sell, or should we buy an apartment where body corporate is involved, just call Matt Wineera on 0274 951 536 who is always on hand to answer your query.

Work with Matt Wineera who lists and sells in the Tauranga, Mount Maunganui and Papamoa areas.

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