Nick and Sandy owned a townhouse in a Unit Titled complex which included an original house in the front of the complex and a new set of townhouses behind it.  The buildings were all on one Unit Title plan.

The Body Corporate had for many years apportioned both ordinary and special levies in a way that meant the owners of the original house paid less in levies than the other owners, as they didn’t use many of the common areas.

When they came to sell their town house Nick and Sandy realised after speaking with their lawyer that the way the levies had been apportioned over the years was wrong, and they had been paying more than they should have been.  They had no idea that there was a plan attached to their title that defined the shares that each owner had in the Body Corporate, and therefore the proportion of levies they should pay!

The new law (which mirrors the old law) confirms that ordinary levies (which cover insurance, common property upkeep etc) must be apportioned having regard to each owner’s “utility interest”.  These are in most cases the same as ownership interests (previously called “unit entitlements”) and are listed on each complex’s unit title plan.

It is now possible to re-assess these based on factors like use of lifts, common property etc, and register new utility interests that the Body Corporate considers more fair with Land Information New Zealand.  It is important to take legal and valuation advice before proceeding with any re-assessment.