There have been major changes and improvements to the Unit Titles Act 1972. The old act was out dated and was originally conceived when the largest residential blocks consisted of no more than 20 units. Over the last 15 years these small apartment blocks have grown into large complex developments with mixed uses and the 1972 Act has lacked the sophistication required to cope with such changes.
The new Act includes a series of Regulations covering Body Corporate Rules (to be known as Operational Rules), management, governance, maintenance, financial statements and disclosure.
Some of the major changes are;
- Lower the voting threshold for body corporate decisions to a 75% agreement. This was required to be a unanimous decision in the old Act and the democratic approach potentially would slow down any developments and potentially drag out disputes.
- Another key consumer protection improvement is the introduction of a robust disclosure regime for vendors, purchasers and developments. Vendors will have a legal obligation to disclose certain information before and after a sale and purchase agreement is signed. In some circumstances failure to do so could give the purchaser a right to cancel the agreement.
- The apartment blocks will have a compulsory maintenance plan regime.
- The Body Corporate will have various funds for maintenance, contingencies and capital improvements and will levy owners accordingly.
- Unit entitlements will be split into ownership interests and utility interests which can serve different purposes at the discretion of the Body Corporate and be reassessed every three years.
- The responsibility for maintaining building elements (such as walls, roofs, decks, foundations, cladding) and infrastructure (including lifts, machinery, pipes, ducts, cables etc) will fall on the Body Corporate regardless of whether the are common property or private property, provided they affect more than one unit.
- Costs can be recovered from unit owners for private property repairs depending on the work carried out.
to view article 'Unit Titles Questions I have been asked'
by Tim Jones, Partner, Glaister Ennor.