Temporary amendment to Unit Titles Act allows body corporates to meet virtually

The Government is seeking a temporary amendment to the Unit Titles Act 2010 (UTA) to allow body corporate members to attend meetings via audio or audio-visual link.

This amendment is part of the COVID-19 Response (Further Management Measures) Legislation Bill introduced today in the House.  The amendment recognises the current restrictions around travel and gatherings impacts on body corporates’ ability to comply with the requirements in the UTA. 

“Under the current law the need for physical presence poses particular difficulties.  A number of body corporates and body corporate management companies have raised their concerns about this situation and we have listened,” says Associate Housing Minister Kris Faafoi.

“We know that there are around 150,000 unit title households who are potentially affected by this.

“The current law is unclear about whether attending body corporate meetings via phone or videoconference is sufficient to meet the requirements of the Act,” says Kris Faafoi.

“By clarifying and amending this part of the law to allow meetings via audio or audio-visual link, we are acting now so that body corporates don’t find themselves in breach of requirements for annual general meetings to be held. 

“This addresses the risk of a legal challenge from a member of the body corporate or other interested party to decisions made at a general meeting held over this period of COVID-19 restrictions,” Minister Faafoi said.

This amendment is temporary, and designed to respond to the COVID-19 situation. The Bill proposes that the UTA amendment will only be in force for the duration of the Epidemic Notice under the Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006.

“If there is a need for a permanent change allowing for attendance by audio-visual means, this would be considered as part of a wider UTA review process in the future.

“This amendment is another example of the Government acting quickly to minimise the impact that COVID-19 is having on the residential housing market, and people’s lives and wellbeing as a result,” Mr Faafoi said.

On passing through Parliament, the Bill, and the temporary amendment to body corporate rules, are expected to come into law by 15 May 2020. 

You can follow progress of the COVID-19 Response (Further Management Measures) Bill on the Parliament website:  https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_97676/covid-19-response-further-management-measures-legislation