What is a Unit Title or Stratum Estate?

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A unit title is also referred to as a “strata title” or “stratum estate”.  It can either be in fee simple (freehold) or leasehold.  This type of title is generally in an apartment type development. However it has also been used in New Zealand for two and three unit properties. 

Unit title properties are governed by the Unit Titles Act 2010 and are administered by a body corporate. 

The body corporate will control the management of, and expenditure for, the units within the development and this is usually administered by an appointed body corporate secretary. Owners of units in the development also form a body corporate committee.  

There are body corporate rules which set out the rights and obligations of the body corporate and the unit owners.  Body corporate rules often contain prohibitions on things like pets, alterations to units, noise, litter, tidiness (among other things).  

There are often fees involved with body corporates, generally referred to as body corporate levies,.  These annual fees go towards the insurance premium, maintenance and repairs, lighting, common area gardens and a long term maintenance fund for the development as a whole. 

There are very specific legal requirements regarding what the seller or vendor of a unit title property must disclose to a potential purchaser when selling their property.  Read New Disclosure Requirements Under The Unit Titles Act 2010 to learn more about these requirements. 

An example of a legal description to a unit title property would be: (a stratum estate in Fee Simple or Leasehold in Unit A and Accessory Unit 1 (garage, parking area, storage area, if applicable) Deposited Plan 12345).

If you have any questions regarding the above, or wish to seek advice regarding buying residential property, please contact property lawyer Wade Hansen by phone on 837 6885 or email wade.hansen@smithpartners.co.nz