The Department of Building and Housing has published a Unit Titles Amendment Bill consultation document dated 20 November 2012. They are seeking views on some proposed amendments to the Act and Regulations. Written submissions are due by 1 February 2013.
The review is only intended to address minor and technical issues with the Act. A fuller review is expected to commence after October 2013. It is postponed so that proper empirical data can be collected given the law is still fairly new.
Some of the more interesting amendments are as follows:
- Dealing with some anomalies where principal units are subdivided. This includes removing the requirement for a principal unit to have its ownership interest reassessed for subdividing because of the difficulties in carrying out this valuation without there being consideration of the value of all of the other units.
- Reducing the 36 month minimum period between reassessment of utility interest and ownership interest to 6 months.
- Tidying up boundary adjustments so that it is clear that boundary adjustments are only allowed where the boundaries of the common property are left unchanged.
- Removing the requirement for a unit owner to obtain the consent of their mortgagee before voting in a general meeting, recognizing that this is a contractual issue for owners to manage and not something that should call into question the validity of decisions made.
- Clarifying that a unit owners contribution to ground rental should be paid in proportion to the utility interest. (Confusion is created by the current act which on one hand provides that contributions to ground rental are levied in proportion to ownership interest and then on the other hand states that they are paid out of the operating account, which is levied by utility interest.)
- Clarifying what is a free standing unit for the purpose of insurance so that it is clear that a principal unit and adjacent accessory unit that is otherwise free standing could be insured separately from another similar unit.
- Dealing with some of the disclosure issues. For example, dealing with short settlements, reducing the time-frame for notices and removing the 10 days’ notice where a buyer cancels for the failure to provide the pre-settlement disclosure statement or additional disclosure statement.
- Allowing an officer or employee to be put forward for the roles of chairperson and committee members where units are owned by companies.
We will be preparing a submission so if anyone has any comments on these issues or any of the other issues raised please do not hesitate to let us know.