Commercial Property
Keeping your property project on track, on time and on budget
In this area, experience is everything. Our specialist team will keep your project on track, on time and on budget.
Whether you’re looking to acquire, develop, finance, lease or sell commercial property – talk to us first. We’re skilled at working through the process, and anticipating unexpected issues before they arise. 
Our commercial property team – which includes in-house resource management specialists – is sought after by individuals, businesses, and large private and public institutions. We get involved in all types of commercial property projects; from retail centres and mixed use developments, to large institutional commercial property portfolios.
Our clients tell us they value our expertise in the commercial property market. Our goal is to offer you the best of both worlds – experience where it matters, coupled with innovative solutions and ideas to deliver that extra advantage.


Recent Projects

  • Acting for ECan in relation to a land swap with a neighbouring landowner to settle a proceeding relating to a plan change. This involved negotiating a land swap and boundary adjustment agreement and was a complex land swap because much of the Environment Canterbury land was still held under the Deeds system meaning we had to obtain land transfer titles for that land.
  • Acted for Environment Canterbury to obtain land transfer titles for some of their land still held under the Deeds system. This work involved detailed land investigation, reconciliation of land designation and purposes and was complicated by a leasehold subdivision including easements and a proposed new lease.
  • Acting for Environment Canterbury in relation to the Northern motorway and the associated taking of Land by the Crown under the Public Works Act. This work involved fee simple and leasehold estates and matters of compensation, surrender of leases, new leases and negotiation of an agreement with the Crown.
  • Acted for Environment Canterbury on their purchase of their new office site at Tuam St from the Crown involving several parcels of land, a subdivision, easements, a park and encumbrance.
  • Acting on the acquisition of a nationwide group of commercial properties by a private investor.
  • Acting on a 3 stage subdivision in central Christchurch involving commercial and residential premises
  • Acted for developers who have undertaken subdivisions.
  • Regularly advises clients on residential build agreements.
  • Advised various Body Corporates and property owners on issues arising from Christchurch earthquakes and the Unit Titles Act.
  • Assisted with acting on behalf of a 31 owner body corporate to ultimately achieve unanimous agreement to the sale of all their units over a 3 year period.
  • Involved in successful accretion and adverse land claim applications.
  • Provided advice to commercial property developers, retail managers and lessees, and in particular to both shopping centre managers and national retail store owners.
  • Advising Landlords and Investors on the process and documentation for new office and retail building developments post earthquake.
  • Acting for a national transportation and distribution company with multiple subsidiaries, advising on the group’s property requirements over multiple sites throughout NZ.
  • Acting for the property arm of a national trading bank, for all its property requirements in the South Island.
  • Providing legal advice to landlord clients on issues arising from the Christchurch earthquake and in particular in relation to "tenantability" and termination issues.
  • Land acquisition, financing, development, and leasing of shopping centres.
  • The application of securities legislation on property development proposals.
  • Joint ventures for the development and holding of a high value commercial property.



COVID-19 Commercial Leases and Pandemics

Do you understand your obligations and if rent will be payable during the lockdown? Many businesses are non-essential business and will not be able to access or operate from the commercial premises they lease during lockdown.

Keep reading...


Five tips before you sign a new lease

Matthew Couch, Partner at Wynn Williams talks to Jake Millar, CEO of Unfiltered about five tips to bear in mind before signing a new commercial lease. The video includes researching what ongoing obligations you may have, checking the premises will offer exactly what you are looking for and ensuring you don’t end up with a “hard ratchet”.

Keep reading...


The pitfalls of Airbnb

In Christchurch, and around the country, home owners and renters alike have been renting out their spare bedrooms and baches to visitors via websites like Airbnb. The explosion in listings on these sites has led to complaints from neighbours about noisy guests (in turn leading to compliance action being taken by district and city councils), and complaints that the hosts (i.e., the person renting the room to guests) are not paying their fair share in rates.

Keep reading...


Hawkins liable for $13.4 million: summary of the latest case involving builder negligence

In a judgment released on 1 May 2018 Downs J, in a 344 paragraph judgment, has found H Construction North Island Limited (formerly Hawkins Construction North Island Limited) liable for serious building defects at the Botany Downs Secondary College.

Keep reading...


Tenants' liability for damage – High Court ruling

The Court of Appeal in Holler v Osaki confirmed that a residential tenant who damages their landlord's property carelessly can not be sued by their landlord in respect of the damage. In November 2017, the High Court released a new judgment on tenants' liability, in Linklater v Dickinson.

Keep reading...


Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 – A Landlord's Perspective

This article considers what is required of landlords, whether commercial or residential, under the health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

Keep reading...


Papering over the cracks: a summary of the University of Canterbury v Insurance Council of NZ

On 22 December 2014, the Supreme Court affirmed the decisions of the Court of Appeal and the High Court in finding that local authorities cannot require building owners to strengthen buildings so they exceed 33% of the new building standards (NBS).

Keep reading...


Consumer Law Reform: Unfair Contract Terms

Arguably the most wide-reaching change following the recent overhaul of New Zealand's consumer laws is the prohibition on unfair contract terms in standard form consumer contracts. These changes come into effect on 17 March 2015. The Commerce Commission has indicated that it will take a proactive approach to enforcing these new rules. It has recently finalised its guidelines outlining its intended approach to enforcement. You can access these guidelines by clicking on this link

Keep reading...


Don't leave things to chance - Reform of Incorporated Societies Act 1908: Issues for Sports Organisations - Part 3

It is very common for disputes to arise between members of societies. It is also quite common for a society's rules to be inadequate to properly deal with those disputes. This creates uncertainty as to how the dispute can be properly resolved both from the society and a member's point of view. The consequence is numerous complaints by members that they haven't been treated fairly or been properly heard.

Keep reading...


Greater Responsibility for Officers - Reform of Incorporated Societies Act 1908: Issues for Sports Organisations - Part 2

The governance of a society is the running of a society. Until now, the legislation was silent on a society's governance, specifically the duties and obligations owed by officers to societies. This is set to change. It is likely that officer's duties in the reformed legislation will be specified and will be similar to company director's duties under the Companies Act.

Keep reading...


Subcontractor Retentions: a matter of trust

The forecast for national building and construction is at an unprecedented level, and with a sustained rate of growth that has not been seen in the past 40 years. Despite the positive prognosis for New Zealand's construction industry, cashflow problems have proved terminal for many building firms in recent times. One of the factors affecting cashflow is retentions, which are sums withheld from payments owed to the head contractor (commonly 5-10% of the total contract price), and which are designed to guarantee quality of the head contractor's work, and to ensure that any defects are put right. In most cases, the head contractor does not become eligible to receive all or part of the retained sum until the whole of the construction works are complete, or until the end of the defects liability period, which can be months or even years after completion. This amount often comprises the head contractor's entire profit margin. Unsurprisingly, most head contractors adopt the same process for paying their subcontractors, who are generally not as informed about the viability of a certain project.

Keep reading...


Sharing in the Proceeds: A Tenant's Interest in its Landlord's Insurance Policy

A recent decision of the High Court Earthquake List in Christchurch has considered the interests of a tenant under its landlord's insurance policy.

Keep reading...


Proposed Changes to the Construction Contracts Act 2002

On 29 January 2013, the Construction Contracts Amendment Bill (the "Bill") was introduced to Parliament.  The Bill proposes changes to extend the application of the Construction Contracts Act (the "CCA") to residential construction contracts, and to widen the group of professionals covered by the CCA.  It also proposes to amend the enforcement and adjudication processes and to allow more direct enforcement of determinations under the CCA. 

Keep reading...


CERA Acquisitions for Anchor Projects

The Christchurch Central City Recovery Plan could result in the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority compulsorily acquiring large tracts of the central city for the Anchor Projects.

Keep reading...


Compulsory Acquisition in the Central City

Many landowners in the central city have now received letters from CERA, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, informing them that their land in the central city has been designated for Anchor Projects under the Central City Recovery Plan.  This article describes the processes of designation, acquisition and compensation under the CER Act.

Keep reading...


Updated Auckland District Lease Form

The Canterbury Earthquakes have been a major catalyst for the revision of the widely used ADLS Lease form. 

Keep reading...


The Christchurch CBD Blueprint: Resource Management Issues

The blueprint for the Central City has been released, so what does it mean – particularly if you own property in the Central City?  How does it affect existing activities in the new zones?

Keep reading...


Land Acquisition: What if my Land in the CBD is Designated?

If you have land in an area to be used for one of the anchor projects, your land may be acquired by the Crown. The CCDU will very soon be sending affected land owners a letter explaining what is happening and asking them to answer some questions about their properties. The Crown’s agents (The Property Group or others) will then contact the land owners about the next steps.

Keep reading...


Commercial Earthquake Insurance Claims - Lessons Learned and Observations

When going into bat for commercial clients to help maximise their earthquake insurance claims, two things are vital:  information and tenacity.

Keep reading...


Building Repair and the Building Act 2004

An insurer, under usual replacement insurance policy terms, has to reinstate a building. Typically the insurer will, as part of this, have to comply with building requirements applying at the time of reinstatement.

Keep reading...


Post Earthquake Construction

The key to putting together a solid project with good prospects of success in the current environment is to thoroughly prepare in advance, understand what the risks to the project might be, and take a practical approach to allocating those risks across the parties involved.

Keep reading...


Lease break clauses

The hurdle is very high for showing a lease has been frustrated, so almost all leases contain a break clause. At least in theory a break clause is more workable than the law of frustration as the break terms can be spelt out.

Keep reading...


Construction Contracts: the effects of the Canterbury Quakes

The Canterbury earthquakes have thrown up many things to be learnt.  This article highlights some key things to consider when planning a new commercial building contract.  These issues apply wherever the building is to be located in New Zealand.

Keep reading...


More than leases bargained for

In the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes many building owners, tenants, developers, and even lawyers have turned to their leases in an attempt to figure out exactly what they happens in a disaster.

Keep reading...


Considering Leasing the Farm?

As farmland becomes more expensive and rental returns from leasing increase, farm leasing is becoming more attractive and prevalent.

Keep reading...


Quakes Prompt Rethink of Leases

The earthquakes have shown up weaknesses in commercial leases used across New Zealand.

Keep reading...


Handling Redundancies in Tough Times

Canterbury business owners have received a number of blows over the last couple of years.  The ongoing global financial crisis coupled with the effects of the Christchurch earthquake and subsequent aftershocks have hit many businesses hard.  Some business owners can no longer carry on as they have done in the past and now must consider downsizing their business to keep afloat.  This may result in business owners having to make the tough decision to lay off some of their staff. 

Keep reading...


Leasing Process Explained

If you wish to enter into a commercial lease, whether as a landlord or a tenant, this typically involves negotiating and entering into a written agreement to lease. An agreement to lease is an agreement by the landlord to grant a lease, and the tenant to take the lease, at a future date.

Keep reading...


Payments to Cease: Business Interruption Insurance

With the anniversary of the 22 February earthquake fast approaching, business interruption insurance is poised to re-enter the spotlight. The end of the month (February 2012) could bring a fatal blow to some businesses.

Keep reading...


Disclosure Requirements under the new Unit Titles Act 2010

The Unit Titles Act 2010 (the "New Act") came in to force on 20 June 2011.  This new Act replaces the outdated Unit Titles Act 1972 and brings with it some significant changes.

Keep reading...


New York skyscraper provides pointers for rebuilding

Recently I visited one of the world's greenest buildings. My colleague, Jared Ormsby, and I recently visited one of the world's greenest skyscrapers, One Bryant Park in New York.

Keep reading...


Earthquakes, mortagees and lessees [2011] NZLJ 301

The Canterbury earthquakes have given rise to more than just seismic aftershocks. The legal consequences are only just beginning to be felt. Issues have been raised that have not been considered before and from which there are no easy answers.

Keep reading...


The Deposit

The vendor wants it, the agent wants it more and the buyer cannot find it. Is it important? Jonathan Gillard, partner with the Christchurch Lawlink firm of Wynn Williams, looks at the issues and tells us why collecting a deposit is so important to the vendor.

Keep reading...

Enter security code:
 Security code

Wynn Williams Christchurch
Level 5, Wynn Williams House, 47 Hereford Street, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand.
PO Box 4341, DX WX11179, Christchurch 8140.
+64 3 379 7622
+64 3 379 2467
Wynn Williams Auckland
Level 25, Vero Centre, 48 Shortland Street, Auckland 1010, New Zealand.
PO Box 2401, Shortland Street, Auckland 1140.
+64 9 300 2600
+64 9 300 2609

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with stylesheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so. The latest version of Firefox, Safari or Google Chrome will work best if you're after a new browser.