MP wants body corp feedback

01 March 2016

Rapid growth in apartment living and increasing concerns about body corporate regulations has prompted Cabinet minister and Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye to call for people to express their views on a website she has set up.

She says her Auckland Central electorate has huge numbers of apartments and she has been approached as MP about potential issues including whether there is a need for greater accessibility and transparency of information around bodies corporate.

"At this stage I am just asking that you tell me your views on whether the rules around bodies corporate are working or whether you want change. I plan to continue to work with Ministers to see if there is a need for any improvements."

Ms Kaye says that as the growth in apartments continues it is important people have confidence in how bodies corporate operate.

Meanwhile, liability concerns and issues around apartment blocks' long-term maintenance plans is a key concern of the Body Corporate Chairs' Group, formed in 2012 by Wellington apartment owner Neil Cooper.

The group's Auckland chairperson, Lyn Gillingham, said the existing law was inadequate and the group wanted the Unit Titles Act overhauled.

Ms Gillingham told NZ Herald property editor Anne Gibson in February that there are many pressing issues facing the sector and a significant one is long-term maintenance planning and funding. She said the group's immediate focus is on providing a support network for body corporate chairs within the existing legislation, especially the system for funding long-term maintenance of existing apartment buildings.

"We welcome the website survey set up by Nikki Kaye, but the real target of any legislation reforms should be to place serious effort into reforms affecting the larger bodies corporate," said Ms Gillingham.

"These reforms should require bodies corporate of 10 or more titles to have long-term maintenance plans reflecting the life cycle of the building, fund their long-term maintenance plans and be registered under a Companies Office-style regime so key records would be available."

The Body Corporate Chairs' Group is also concerned that the implications of the new health and safety legislation coming into effect in April could possibly make voluntary committee members and chairs subject to the same penalties as company directors, particularly if they receive an honorarium. That could make it difficult for bodies corporate to secure effective committees to run their buildings.

Ms Gillingham said Auckland's population was forecast to increase by nearly 250,000 in the next 10 years and many people would consider living in or buying an apartment.

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