There are extra things to consider when buying a unit title. Know what you are committing to before you make a decision.
Before you buy
Make sure you understand your responsibilities under the Unit Titles Act 2010.(external link) Gather information about the unit, body corporate, and the development before you commit. Your lawyer can help you with this.
Units that people own are called principal units. This could be an apartment, a set of offices or a shop. Accessory units are used with a principal unit. They could be carparks, or storage space.
The shared parts of the complex are known as ‘common property’. These could be hallways, stairs or shared gardens.
For more guidance and information on buying or selling a property, visit settled.govt.nz(external link)
Body corporate membership
When you buy a unit title, you become a member of the body corporate. The body corporate meets at least once a year to discuss issues and vote on decisions.
The body corporate looks after the common areas, and the property as a whole.
The seller has to give you at least two disclosure statements. These give you more information about the unit title.
There are three types:
- Pre-contract disclosure statement
- Pre-settlement disclosure statement
- Additional disclosure statement
Pre-contract disclosure statement
The seller must provide the pre-contract disclosure statement before you sign a sale and purchase agreement.
This statement includes:
- the levy amount
- any upcoming maintenance
- body corporate funds
- if there are any weathertightness problems.
Pre-settlement disclosure statement
The seller must provide the pre-settlement disclosure statement no later than the fifth working day before the settlement date.
This statement includes:
- all fees and charges relating to the unit
- if there are proceedings pending against the body corporate
- any changes to the body corporate rules.
The Act allows the buyer to delay settlement or cancel the sale if this is not provided on time.
Additional disclosure statement
You can also ask for an additional disclosure statement. You can ask for this before or after you sign the sale and purchase agreement. This statement provides body corporate records on:
Ownership and utility interest
Once you’ve bought a unit title, the ownership interest of your unit is your share of the value of the whole complex.
Utility interest is usually the same as the ownership interest. It may differ if the body corporate agrees that costs should be shared differently.
Utility interest decides how much you will pay to the body corporate as your levy. This is your share of the overall costs for the whole complex. The levy amount will be included in your pre-contract disclosure statement.