Housing Minister Phil Twyford seeks advice on a National Party bill that aims to strengthen the management of the $50 billion apartment sector

Housing Minister Phil Twyford seeks advice on a National Party bill that aims to strengthen the management of the $50 billion apartment sector
Phil Twyford by Jacky Carpenter.

The Government is seeking advice on a piece of legislation, drafted by the Opposition, that aims to strengthen the management of apartments and townhouses.

National MPs Nikki Kaye and Judith Collins say that for the building of more intensive housing to be successful, we need fit for purpose legislation.

They’ve been working on strengthening the existing unit title regime since 2016, when they were in government, and have just given Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford a copy of their Unit Titles (Strengthening Body Corporate Governance and Other Matters) Amendment Bill.

Twyford has told interest.co.nz that when he met with Kaye and Collins to discuss the piece of work earlier in the year he acknowledged it was an important issue that he was “willing to work with them on.”

He’s happy to meet with them again once the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development has a chance to consider the Bill.

The Bill aims to: 

  • Improve the information disclosure regime to prospective buyers of units
  • Strengthen the governance arrangements in relation to the body corporate, the entity responsible for the management and operation of a unit title complex (owner)
  • Increase the professionalism and standards of body corporate managers
  • Ensure planning and funding of long-term maintenance projects is adequate and proportionate to the size of the complex concerned.

Having consulted with the public in 2016 during their “Better Body Corporates” campaign, which fed into a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment discussion document, Kaye and Collins are concerned about a lack of transparency, inadequate long-term maintenance plans and uncertainty around the role of body corporate managers.

With estimates putting the value of the apartment sector at $50 billion, and the proportion of multi-unit housing developments in Auckland increasing from just over 15% in 2010 to over 40% in 2017, they want their concerns dealt with.

“A refined governance, management and planning structure will ultimately lead to more quality housing through improved long term maintenance plans and boost the confidence of first time buyers,” Collins says.

“Underinvestment in long term maintenance plans can result in large unexpected bills for homeowners if defects occur, or sharp rises in body corporate fees.”

Kaye says, “The legislation aims to strike a balance between the benefits of additional compliance requirements with any potential costs.

“The law distinguishes between unit title complexes based on their size so smaller complexes can either be excluded or can opt-out of some compliance obligations.”

If Twyford doesn’t adopt the Bill, it will be lodged as a Private Members Bill in Collins’ name.

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6 Comments

Long overdue. The Canterbury quakes showed up the utter confusion amongst such arrangements: with the inevitable, but for those concerned sad, result that their cases got pushed to the very back of the fix-it queue because it was just too hard to untangle quickly. Instances (thought experiment based on a few conversations from real life) such as a string of six sausage flats, allegedly with a BC, but in practice:

  • One unit in the middle uninsured completely
  • BC had not met for a decade
  • Other five each insured separately, but only two used the same insurer
  • One owner died intestate during the period between the quakes and the claims lodgement
  • Two neighbouring units communicated only through their lawyers

It often takes a crisis to find out that BC's are just a name on a faded scrap of parchment in some Legal Eagle's office drawer....

(Irrelevant comment deleted, Ed. Please see our commenting policy here - https://www.interest.co.nz/news/65027/here-are-results-our-commenting-po...).

Wouldn't it be nice for us taxpayers if t the two major parties talked more and traded off the odd thing? People grizzle about the small parties having too much influence - but this could be mitigated if the big two did some trading.

Indeed. I'm much more likely to cast my vote with a party that proves itself to be pragmatic than not. Maybe in another lifetime....

its clear NZ politics is very childish but it doesn't matter which party you support they are all as bad as each other.

....one exception TOP. based on policy, not left or right. Sooner we ditch left verse right the better. Just dish out a qnr at polling time, tick your priority and the computer selects the candidate.

Interestingly, some Nat party (farmers kids) students I know did that online election test...and were horrified to find hey hadn't picked national. Didn't change their votes accordingly however. dah..