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Unit Titles Amendment Bill
Submissions closed recently on the Unit Titles (Strengthening Body Corporate Governance and Other Matters) Amendment Bill (which we’ll refer to as ‘the Bill’, for ease of reference). Crockers CEO Helen O’Sullivan presented to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee on Thursday 27th May 2021, speaking briefly on Crockers’ submission. You can read the details of our submission here.
The Bill is a response to an examination of the Unit Titles Act 2010 completed a number of years ago. It includes amendments intended to improve the information disclosure regime to prospective buyers of unit titled dwellings, strengthen the governance arrangements in bodies corporate, to increase the professionalism and standards of body corporate managers, and to ensure that planning and funding of long-term maintenance projects is adequate.
Crockers broadly supports the objectives of the Bill, but feels the Bill as currently drafted would create some practical issues that would impede the functioning of bodies corporate and impose unnecessary costs on homeowners.
We were pleased to receive a good hearing at Select Committee, with the Committee being very aware of and engaged with the issues facing owners of unit titled properties. The Committee includes Nicola Willis, Chloe Swarbrick and Helen White, all of whom have high density developments in their electoral areas, and are engaging actively with the Bill.
This Bill is a Member’s Bill, sponsored by MP Nicola Willis. It dates back to 2015 and the Honourable Nikki Kaye who first sponsored the Bill. Unlike Government Bills, which progress according to the timetable set by the governing party, Member’s Bills are only introduced to Parliament if they are drawn from a ballot – the famous ‘Biscuit Tin’. This Bill was drawn from the ballot in the closing days of the last Parliament in 2020. Uniquely, however, it had unanimous support at its first reading, as Labour also had Unit Titles Act reform on its manifesto in the 2020 election campaign. This cross-party support allowed the Bill to progress to Select Committee, and bodes well for the issues raised being addressed in a bi-partisan way.
The next step in the life of a Bill is the Select Committee’s report, which is due on 8th November 2021. The Select Committee’s report will recommend changes to the Bill based on the Committee’s consideration of the submissions received. A very large number of submissions were received on the Bill, so there is a lot for the Committee to work through. We remain very interested in the progress of the Bill, and will keep you updated.