New Zealand's statutory regime providing for the creation of freehold strata titles allows for the subdivision of a fee simple title into three-dimensional units (for further details please see "Maintenance issues under strata title legislation and proposals for reform"). In 2008 a Unit Titles Bill was prepared with the intention of replacing the Unit Titles Act 1972. The long-awaited Unit Titles Act 2010 was finally passed in April 2010 and came into force on June 20 2011. Delays in preparing the regulations to accompany the act were the cause of the long hiatus between the act's passage and entry into force.

While the act goes some way towards addressing most of the concerns of practitioners, the regulations appear to be the one area in which problems may arise. Despite the lengthy delay in the drafting of the regulations (they were finally gazetted on May 12 2011), on an initial review they do not appear to be well thought out, particularly in the area of mandatory pre-sale disclosures by vendors. The act should have practical implications for those involved, which may include not only vendors and purchasers, but also real estate agents, body corporate secretaries and lawyers.

For further information on this topic please contact Michael Goodger or Chris Moore at Meredith Connell by telephone (+64 9 336 7500), fax (+64 9 336 7629) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]).