A Unit Titled complex had made a set of Body Corporate rules which the unit owners were required to abide by. These were created under the Unit Titles Act 1972.

A particular rule restricted owners from painting their units (which were standalone units) any other colour other than muted grey tones. When a new owner moved into their unit they decided to paint their unit a bright yellow.

After the Body Corporate tried to enforce the rules, the owner advised them that when the Unit Titles Act 2010 (“the new Act”) came into force, the new Act cancelled any rules made under the old Act and so they were not applicable anymore. The Body Corporate sought advice to confirm this.

Under the new Act, any Body Corporate rules that were registered under the 1972 Act lapsed unless the Body Corporate either revoked, added, or amended their rules and registered them by 1st October 2012.

Unless new rules have been registered, the default rules in the Unit Titles Regulations will apply.

The default rules are very basic and only impose obligations on an owner of a unit to:

  • not damage or deface the common property;
  • not leave rubbish on the common property;
  • dispose of rubbish hygienically and tidily;
  • not create noise that is likely to interfere with the use or enjoyment of the unit title by other owners;
  • not park on common property unless it has been specifically designated for carparks; and
  • not interfere with the reasonable use and enjoyment of the unit title by other owners.

If a Body Corporate wishes to register new rules to replace the default rules they can do so. Any replacement rules can only relate to the control, management, administration, use or enjoyment of the units in Body Corporate, and cannot contradict the new Act. Your rules cannot purport to contract out of the new Act.

To change the rules, there must be a general meeting held where the draft rules are agreed to via an ordinary resolution of the Body Corporate. After the rules pass, a specific notice should then be registered with Land Information New Zealand.

It is essential that you take legal advice when drafting Body Corporate rules because any rules that are outside the scope of the new Act will result in the rules being rejected, or open the Body Corporate up to challenge by the owners.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.