Changes are coming to the controversial arena of residential landlord and tenant legal relationships. With 1 in 3 New Zealanders now renting, these changes will affect a significant proportion of the population. The Government has announced a suite of changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) is currently consulting on a range of proposed reforms to building law. One area of consultation relates to the allocation of risk and liability in the building sector. One option being considered is a requirement for builders to offer guarantee and insurance products for all residential new builds and for significant alterations. MBIE has also considered, and at this stage rejected, changes to the liability regime for building consent authorities.
A cross lease title was historically one of the two most common ways a property could be subdivided and contains rights of ownership and rights of use. New cross leases are not very common now. If you are looking to buy a property which is a cross lease title you should look carefully at the terms of the lease.
The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) placed greater restrictions on who can buy property in New Zealand on 22 October 2018. Most overseas people are now unable to buy homes in New Zealand (regardless of whether they already own property here), but some can request consent from the OIO.
The recent enforced receivership of national construction firm Ebert Construction has thrust receiverships back into the spotlight. With some 95 staff laid off and creditors owed around $40 million, the consequences of a high-profile company being forced into a receivership are apparent. Nonetheless, many people involved in the construction industry, and the general public, may have little knowledge of what a receivership entails.
On 1 July 2017, the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016 came into force. It amends the Building Act 2004 to include special provisions for earthquake-prone buildings and replaces the individual earthquake-prone building policies.
As foreshadowed in the 2016 Budget announcement, the Government has released the proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity (NPS UDC) for consultation. What might surprise many is that it is not just set to address the problem in the Auckland region, but Tauranga, Hamilton, Queenstown and Christchurch are also grouped in the "High Growth Urban Area" category.
What is a certificate of compliance?
• A consent authority issues a certificate of compliance under section 139 of the Resource Management Act 1991 ("RMA") to confirm that an activity can be done lawfully in a particular location without a resource consent (i.e as a permitted activity). A certificate of compliance is treated as a resource consent and provides certainty to a resource user that their activity does not require a resource consent.
What is a written approval?
The resource consent process under the Resource Management Act 1991 ("RMA") provides an opportunity for certain persons affected by an activity seeking consent, to become involved in the decision-making process. A consent authority is required to notify adversely affected persons of the application for consent. Those affected persons are then entitled to lodge a submission in support or opposition to the application. Anyone who has lodged a submission can bring evidence and be involved in the hearing of a resource consent application.
The new six-month consent processing time frames will be introduced on 3 March 2015 when Part 3 of the Resource Management Amendment Act 2013 (the "Amendment Act") comes into force. This will have a significant impact on the resource consent process, which has been overhauled in an attempt to make the entire procedure more efficient and provide a degree of certainty to applicants. Although these amendments were originally proposed to hasten "medium-sized projects" the amendments now apply across the board to all resource consent applications.
The litigation regarding noise associated with New Zealand Windfarms Limited's Te Rere Hau wind farm continues, with leave granted by the High Court for Palmerston North City Council to appeal to the Court of Appeal (Palmerston North City Council v New Zealand Windfarms Limited  NZHC 2654, 11 October 2013 Williams J.).
Existing use rights under the Resource Management Act (RMA) have an important role to play in the Rebuild of Christchurch.
Queenstown has become a hotspot, not only for adventure tourism, but also resource management litigation. In a recent article, we discussed caselaw involving two resource consent applications to build a Pak'nSave and a Mitre 10 Mega at Frankton Flats, Queenstown (the "Consent Cases"). A further development has emerged in a related High Court appeal.
The recent decisions of the High Court in Queenstown Central Ltd v Queenstown Lakes District Council have highlighted developments in fundamental principles related to resource consent applications for non-complying activities, the definition of "the environment", and the meaning of the word "minor".
The Courts have recently looked at the issue of whether a Council owes a duty to take reasonable care in issuing a section 224 certificate and ensuring registration of a consent notice under the Resource Management Act 1991. The outcome of these proceedings may have important consequences for local authorities.
Recent litigation has seen the High Court provide a timely reminder to consent authorities about the scope of their obligations when processing applications for Certificates of Compliance. As the decisions show, these obligations, if left unfulfilled, can result in costly, time consuming judicial review proceedings to the eventual detriment of applicants, consent authorities and affected third parties.
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.
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.
The High Court at Greymouth has recently found that a council does have a case to answer where it incorrectly certifies conditions of subdivision have been met and a subsequent purchaser of the land relies on those certifications.
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?