We've answered all your Frequently Asked Question’s from our client webinar: Working Together Effectively as a Committee
Frequently Asked Questions
The Unit Title Act (2021) has had its first reading. What important should we consider? Is it still possible to make submissions?
What is important in relation to amendments that should be made to the Uinit Titles Act will differ from owner to owner and in our webinar, we've briefly commented on a handful of the many matters that we plan to address in our submission.
As we work through our submissions, we will be providing you, our clients with information on how you can join in on that process. We will also provide you with details of our submission so that you are aware of our views and also remain well informed on progress.
Submissions close on 29th April 2021.
What is the underlying reason behind having the different chairs?
As mentioned in our webinar, there are two Chair positions that need to be elected; one is the Body Corporate Chair and the other is the Body Corporate Committee Chair. Quite often these are the same peerson however it is important to note that these are two distinct roles with different responsibilities.
It is unclear of the thinking as to why it was considered prudent to have the two distinct roles. It could possibly have been a drafting error due to the Act being passed in a bit of a hurry. Importantly this is one of the issues being specifically addressed in the Amendment Act.
How often do we vote for a new committee? How long do they stay in place?
New committee members are voted on annually at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). There is no limit to the amount of times that a person can serve as a committee member.
Just a question about the Building Manager's role. You mentioned that their role relates to common property only. I am part of a small development of 22 units so was wondering if it is necessary to have a building manager when the only common areas are gardens, paths and rubbish bin areas? There are no lifts or common stairways. Is it possible to engage a building manager for one off issues that arise?
The purpose for having a Building Manager is to have a third party administer/complete tasks relating to common property that otherwise would need to be completed by the owners/committee members of a complex.
If owners are happy to assit with the administration or upkeep of common areas then this is fantastic and creates a real sense of community. However, often people have very busy lives and so this isn't possible or the work can become too much. For this reason engaging a Building Manager can be a perfect alternative.
Yes, it is possible to engage with a building manager on an ad hoc basis.
Dispute resolution techniques
I'm sure we won't be telling you anything you don't already know when we say there is a no magic bullet to resolving disputes. It really does dpeend on the situation and how passionate each party is to their point of view.
In our experience one of the best ways to resolve a dispute is to meet and discuss the dispute in person. This enables all parties receive and respond to discussion points in real time. It also ensures that all parties can pick up soft queues during a discussion such as tone of voice, body language and eye contact to ensure that the discussion remains constructive.
Some further suggested techniques are are to keep an open-mind, maintain a calm voice, try to see the other persons point of view and most importantly, if the discussion starts to become heated, take a break. Far better to take a break and come back to the discussion later than that say something that causes irrepairable damage and removes the ability to take the conversation forward.
Is there a regulation or legislation or standard rules with respect to Body corporate operations. Like the healthy homes rules is there a proposal to make this area more open and transparent
Section 21 of the The Unit Titles Regulations 2011 outlines some standard body corporate operational rules. These standard operational rules do not preclude owners from setting any extra rules.
It is common for owners/committees to create extra operational rules which tend to be more personalised to their complex. Where extra rules are created, these need to be ratfiied by way of a Ordinary Resolution.
Once operational rules have been ratified by way of a Ordinary Resolution, they are then lodged with Land Information NZ (LINZ) and become enforceable.
Legal Responsibility for Maintenance of Common Property and what's best practice in the eyes of the law.
Section 138 of the Unit Titles Act outlines the legal repsonsibility of the Body Corporate in relation to the repair and maintenance of common property.
Links to information on the current act
Here is a link to the Unit Titles Act https://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2010/0022/latest/whole.html
Crockers is actively involved with discussions and making submissions in relation to the review of the Unit Titles Act which is currently underway. Below are some related links which you may also find useful:
- Progress of the Bill through Parliament - https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_99361/unit-titles-strengthening-body-corporate-governance-and
- Explanatory note of Bill - https://legislation.govt.nz/bill/member/2020/0306/latest/d8830543e2.html
- Key section affecting agents – section 33 on Disclosure statements - https://legislation.govt.nz/bill/member/2020/0306/latest/LMS368077.html
- REINZ support for the Bill - https://www.blog.reinz.co.nz/blog/announcement-to-review-unit-titles-act
Matters that require 75% vote to pass or higher
Matters that require a minimum of 75% of the votes in order to pass are referred to the Unit Titles Act as a Special Resolution. There are quite a number of matters that require a Special Resolution as listed in the Unit Titles Act.
The best way to ascertain if a matter that is being considered requires a Special Resolution in order for it to be passed is to use the search function in the on-line version of Unit Titles Act.
Zoom experience and setting up the link for clients
Crockers uses MS Teams which is very similar to Zoom to facilitate its virtual meetings. The large majority of feedback from our clients is that they find it to be a far better way to facilite a meeting. Common comments are that they don't have to wade through traffic, can participate in the meeting from the comfort of their homes, saves time and is easy to use; simply click on a link within a meeting invite and you're in!