The Unit Titles Act 2010 (the „2010 Act‟) came into force on 20 June 2011 and replaced the Unit Titles Act 1972. The 2010 Act contains material changes from its predecessor and is now the principal authority pertaining to the establishment and management of developments such as apartment blocks, multi-layered commercial spaces and flats. The key changes included in the 2010 Act are discussed below. All common property in an establishment is now owned by the Body Corporate. Previously, ownership of common property was jointly vested in all unit owners. The change now allows the Body Corporate to more effectively promote the benefit of the development as a whole by representing all unit owners in relation to the improvement and maintenance of common property. Responsibility for the maintenance of building elements and infrastructure affecting more than one unit now lies with the Body Corporate. This means for example, that the Body Corporate will be responsible for repairing a leak from a top floor apartment to a unit below (provided the leak is not August 2011 – October 2011 Page 4 of 4 Swayne McDonald Lawyers Manurewa Office 09 267 2700 Botany Junction Office 09 265 2700 Postal: P O Box 75 442 Manurewa, Auckland 2243 attributable to the recklessness or negligence of the unit owner and/or occupier.) Previously, the obligation to remedy the leak would have fallen solely on the owner of the top floor apartment. Minor alterations to individual units are now more feasible as the 2010 Act allows for increased flexibility relating to re-developments. Obtaining the consent of a body corporate is no longer required to carry out additions or structural alterations to units, provided the modifications do not materially affect the common property or the property of another owner. The subdivision of principal units is also possible under the 2010 Act, allowing for the creation of a separate unit title development within the principal title known as a subsidiary. This is known as a layered development and allows for multiple use of a building – such as where a building has car parking, shopping complexes and apartments all within its confines. The 2010 Act also allows for the creation of separate Bodies Corporate that govern subsidiary units, which are also part of the Head Body Corporate responsible for overall management of the development. Unanimous consent of the Body Corporate is no longer required under the 2010 Act and a 75% majority is sufficient for decisions to be made. This change has been welcomed by many as it means decisions will less likely be held up by difficult owners. Bodies Corporate are also required to develop long term maintenance plans in advance, giving owners the opportunity to pay regular instalments over time. This is to avoid owners having to pay large one off special levies for work required on common property such as lifts. The 2010 Act seems to attempt to be more flexible and pragmatic. To some extent the 2010 Act may give unit title owners more certainty and therefore promote unit titles as a form of land ownership.