Don’t make Council’s problem yours

by | Oct 15, 2013 | General property Law, Sale and Purchase

Earlier this year the Christchurch Council lost its accreditation as a building consent authority.  It failed to meet criteria necessary for the accreditation.

However the Council has continued to issue building consents and government has maintained the view that the loss of accreditation does not affect the ability of the Council to issue consents.

This does not sit easily with the New Zealand Law Society though, who have written to the relevant ministers concerned to fully understand the legal consequences of the loss of accreditation.  This despite receiving a written assurance from Maurice Williamson as Minister for Building and Construction that both he and the Ministry consider the loss of accreditation to have no effect on the legality or validity of the consents issued by the Council.”

The lawyers have not sought a formal opinion on the matter but have written to their property lawyer members expressing real concern about the approach.  In particular the Law Society is advising property lawyers to ensure disclosure of the status of Council to banks and buyers when dealing with any building consent issued without accreditation.

It is worth turning your mind to the issue, incorporating acknowledgements into any agreement that pertains to property built pursuant to one of these consents. Whether the agreement is an agreement for sale and purchase, or a construction contract, be clear no inappropriate warranties are given or representations made.  As the Law Society says,  they have no knowledge of how banks or the courts might treat a claim based on a representation a consent was validly given.  Better not to test the waters, but instead to be upfront in recognising any potential for dispute at a later stage.