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Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if my property is damaged in an earthquake?

If Pitcaithly are your Body Corporate Secretary and your building or surrounding area has sustained damage due to an earthquake please contact us as soon as possible.

For all earthquake enquiries please contact us

What is a Body Corporate?

A Body Corporate is defined by the Unit Titles Act 2010 (“the new Act”). It is an entity that is created when the required documents and the Unit Plan are deposited with Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) near the end of the construction of the complex.

A well run Body Corporate will pave the way for keeping up the value of units and will make life more pleasant for Owners who live in their units and will give peace of mind to Owners of Investment Units.

What are a Body Corporate's Responsibilities?

The main duties of the Body Corporate are to insure the buildings and to maintain the Common Property. The Unit Owners in a Unit Title property make up the Body Corporate. Examples of what a Body Corporate might do are attending to most of the maintenance, resealing common driveway areas, paying for common property lighting, collecting a fund over time to be used for the repainting of the exterior of the buildings, gardening on common property areas, etc.

The Body Corporate will also organise any building Warrant of Fitness and IQP (Independent Qualified Person) work. Should there be a lift in the complex, the Body Corporate will arrange for its maintenance.

The Body Corporate also issues Disclosure Statements upon request. This is documentation that will be required to be passed over to Purchasers by Solicitors or Agents acting for the Vendor of a Unit. These documents give comprehensive information regarding the Unit and Bodies Corporate generally and show whether or not the Body Corporate is in a clean state of health.

Does a Body Corporate have to have a Committee?

Not any longer under the new Act. In cases where there is a professional Body Corporate Secretary employed (such as PBCS) it is not usually necessary to have a Committee. We believe that the Secretary can carry out all of the required functions and should any important matter need to be put to the Unit Owners then it is best done at an Annual or Extraordinary General Meeting.

How do I go about changing my Body Corporate Secretary?

For more information on how to change your Body Corporate Secretary/Administration visit our Unit Owners Seeking Change page and see FAQ question 3.

What does the Body Corporate have to Insure?

By law the Body Corporate must insure the buildings for their full value. In some cases we find that individual Unit Owners have arranged their own building insurance. Not only is this in breach of the law but it also can be more expensive than an overall Body Corporate policy.

It is important to note, however, that Unit Owners should have their own comprehensive contents insurance covers.

What is a Disclosure Statement?

The Body Corporate issues Disclosure Statements upon request. This is documentation that will be required to be passed over to Purchasers by Solicitors or Agents acting for the Vendor of a Unit. These documents give comprehensive information regarding the Unit and Bodies Corporate generally and show whether or not the Body Corporate is in a clean state of health.

What are Unit Interests?

Before a new Unit Plan is deposited at Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), a Valuer will have assessed the value of all Units relative to each other. Having done this, he or she will then ascribe "points" to each unit. For example, a large Unit in a three unit complex may have 600 Unit Interests out of a possible 1,000, with the other two units having 200 Unit Interests each. There are many things that can influence the number of Unit Interests that are ascribed to the Units. These include the size of the Unit, its orientation and its siting on the Complex.

Does every Unit Owner have to belong to the Body Corporate?

Simply put - yes. When purchasing a Unit the purchaser automatically becomes one of the persons who comprise the Body Corporate. There is no way of "opting out" or resigning from a Body Corporate. Unit Owners are legally bound to comply with the new Act and all of the Rules of their Body Corporate and they are legally bound to pay all levies and fees that have been decided by the Body Corporate in General Meeting.

Does PBCS receive Commissions from its Contractors?

No. We believe that we need to be able to remove any Contractor who may not be performing to the required standard. In order to ensure there is no conflict of interest we do not accept commissions from our Contractors.

Can I see the Body Corporate's Financial Accounts?

Yes. If you are a Unit Owner you are entitled to receive them. We provide a comprehensive accounts package prior to each Annual General Meeting. This details the previous year’s expenditure and suggested budgets for the next financial year. We are more than happy to provide any further information that may be required.

Should a Body Corporate be Registered for GST?

In normal circumstances, no. Please contact us for further details.

I am a Tenant in a Body Corporate - can I have a say?

You do not have any voting power in the Body Corporate. If you have any issues regarding the Body Corporate your first contact should be with your Landlord or the Letting Agent. The Body Corporate has no legal relationship with Tenants other than ensuring that all Rules are obeyed by them and no nuisance is caused to other occupiers by them.

Are Local Council Rates Included in Body Corporate Levies?

No. The Body Corporate has no involvement in the paying of City or Regional Council Rates for Units.

When I purchased my Unit I was misled - what can I do about it now?

We often find that Unit Owners have been told that:

  1. They may do particular things that are, in fact, not permitted by the Body Corporate Rules.

  2. The Body Corporate levies are considerably less than they in fact are.

  3. Local Council Rates are included in Body Corporate Levies.

  4. The Body Corporate Insurance covers a greater range of risks than it does.

  5. I have access to more car parks than are in fact available to me as of right.

Many other inaccurate statements may have been made that may have had an influence in your decision to purchase a Unit.

It can be difficult when a Unit Owner has been given incorrect information prior to purchasing a Unit. We always recommend that a Purchaser very clearly familiarises himself/herself with what it is they are buying and that their Solicitors give them all of the relevant details. If you find yourself in this position and you are seriously disadvantaged, you may be able to pursue legal remedies.

The Unit next door is causing me a nuisance - what can I do about it?

No Unit Owner or Tenant may cause a nuisance to another Unit Owner or Tenant.

We usually recommend that, in the first instance, the Unit Owner or Tenant who is suffering has a friendly talk with their neighbour about the problem. This can sometimes prevent further friction. However, should this not improve the situation we have many remedies to call upon.

Our thorough knowledge of the Act means we know how to stop bad behavior quickly and with a minimum of fuss.

I want to alter my Unit - do I need permission?

This depends on what it is that you want to alter.

Generally, you may freely change the internal appearance of your Unit. However, the Act in many cases requires that you gain Body Corporate consent beforehand. In addition, many alterations require a Local Council Building Consent. For external additions and structural alterations it is usually necessary to gain both consents prior to commencement.

I have a Body Corporate dispute - can PBCS help?

We are more than happy to act as advisors or mediators in a Body Corporate dispute. We have extensive experience in the management and administration of Bodies Corporate throughout New Zealand. Please contact us for more information.

What is a Building Warrant of Fitness and does my Building have to have one?

A Building Warrant of Fitness may be required in your case under the Building Act's requirements. This will depend on the type and use of the Building/s. If a WOF is required it will mean that the building must be periodically inspected by an Independent Qualified Person who will certify that it meets the specified requirements as laid down by the Local Council. If your Building falls into the category that does require a WOF then it must have a current WOF at all times.

Does the Body Corporate have to have its own Bank Account?

A Body Corporate has to have a bank account. Where PBCS is Secretary, we use our Company's Trust Account for this purpose as it means a reduction in bank fees and associated costs that can be enjoyed by our Body Corporate clients.

Do the Body Corporate Buildings need to be valued every year?

We think this is highly desirable. The complex should have an annual Insurance Valuation in order to arrange for the Insurance of the Buildings as required by the Act.

Fluctuations in the costs of replacing or making good any Buildings or damage can vary dynamically in times of pressure on the Building Industry and the amount of Insurance cover can thus quickly become eroded.

The Christchurch earthquake experience strongly suggests annual revaluation.

My Unit leaks - can PBCS help?

Yes. We have experience in dealing with the Department of Internal Affairs "Weathertight Homes Resolution Service." If you have a leak in your Unit we are able to assist in the sometimes complicated process of applying and finalising claims to this Service. There may be other remedies to consider as well. We can also advise you of your rights and obligations when it comes to Unit Title law and/or Insurance as relating to leaks in your Unit.