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What is the difference being a specialist for you, an apartment owner looking to sell? With thousands of apartments in the Auckland CBD and surrounding suburbs and at least 100-150 apartments selling every month, you need the right information so you can make the best decisions for you.

Apartment specialists looks at the value of apartments, not just in your building, but of those in the surrounding buildings as well. The apartment market moves all the time and we make sure we’re aware of it when valuing your apartment.

SUMMARY:

There are over 26,500 apartments in the Auckland CBD and fringes and around 400 buildings which will become up to 450 in the coming years. Each month there are 100 to 150 sales of apartments.

We know this by understanding our market well. This is done by constantly keeping up to date and being in the know. It is not just about being an agent but about being a specialist in the market.

We look at apartments that are the same, these are usually in the same building and look at other buildings that are similar to help us gauge the real market value of your property. Calculating size, carparks, level and so on are all important factors to consider when valuing a property as well as record prices in the building and recent sales in both your building and other that are alike.

By being well informed, we can help you make the best decision that works for you and selling your property.

The buildings manager’s role is made up of two main aspects, ensuring the day to day maintenance and running of the people is happening as well as looking after the culture of the building and that all residents are upholding the Body Corporate rules.

Summary:

The building managers’ role is not as easy as people perceive. They have two main jobs which are the day to day role of ensuring maintenance, cleaning, rubbish and so on is taken care of and the second is being in contact with the residents, owners, tenants, organising and running of meetings and AGMs.

The day to day operations include but are not limited to several task. Cleaning is an important aspect of this, including the inside and outside of the building. They also ensure the building Warrant of Fitness is up to date as well as certifying the security is up to scratch.

The building manger is also in charge of the looking after the culture of the building, this term is more commonly known as the Body Corporate rules. This means they are looking out for residents and the living conditions for example ensuring there is an acceptable level of noise or people not hanging laundry off the balconies and so on.

The building manager’s role is not easy and their time taken is much more than we realise. The person who takes on this role within the building deserves a lot of respect and understanding at all times.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Good day, it’s Andrew Murray here from the Apartment Specialists, talking about building managers. Now, a lot of people think they’ve got an easy ride. That’s actually not the case. So, I’m going to talk to you today about what a building manager in an apartment complex actually does, along with their day-to-day task and throughout the year.

Now, there are two main aspects of what a building manager does. One is the day-to-day maintenance of the building. This will be anything from cleaning, to your safety checks for the council – and that kind of thing. The second aspect, which is the most important, is your communication with your owners. For example, owners committees and AGMs.

I’ll firstly go into the first part, which is your day-to-day operations. The first one that comes to mind is obviously cleaning. This is where, basically, if you look at an apartment complex, it’s like a huge house. Where you’ve got one guy who’s in charge or a female in charge of basically making sure all the chores to do with the maintenance of that large building is done.

It’s cleaning and watering the plants. It’s making sure the rubbish is removed, and it’s making sure that all the tests that have to happen each year for the council. For example, the fire checks, the building warrant of fitness – all these kinds of tasks. These things that have to be done every day and weekly. Now, the second part of this maintenance is the long-term maintenance plan. They’re not just in charge of looking after the building at the moment, they’re in charge of looking after the future of the building. So, that’s looking at the long-term maintenance plan.

In three years time, the building may need to be painted. So, they’ll have to coordinate that. It’s also reporting back on when things need to be done, for example, the carpet’s looking pretty good at the moment. It was supposed to be replaced next year, but it’s actually standing up  pretty good. So, let’s push it out a year in the long-term maintenance front.

They’re also responsible for the culture. The culture is what I call it, but most people refer it to as the body corporate rules. For example, the noise in a complex, when it’s late-hour. The music or whether people are allowed to have washing on their balcony. Washing on your balcony often makes a complex look not that nice. So, making sure the tenants or the owners are not having washing on their balconies, is part of the building manager’s job to enforce that.

I see that as enforcing the culture, and up keeping the standards. The body corporate has all agreed to, or the owners have agreed to, and which needs to be obviously upheld. Now, the second aspect, which is the most important part, is you can’t really talk it that much. It’s where you’re reporting to the owners. And that is at any general meeting level as I mentioned before, or an owner’s committee level. Now, if you think of an  apartment complex as one big community, and there’s always something going on. The building manager is the eyes and the ears of the owners.

They live on the ground floor, and they’re there all the time. Apartment building manager know when issues are coming up. They know what’s going well. They know what’s not going well, and they’ll have suggestions on how to improve the daily management of the building. It’s very important that a building manager attends every single AGM, obviously.

Most do, some don’t, but in my opinion, every single committee meeting should be attended by the building manager, to give the owners the feedback they need. Especially, when they’re making decisions on how the building should be managed, that building manager needs to be very efficient. As you can see, there’s a lot to being a building manager, and it’s not as easy as it sounds. They deserve more respect, and I believe in the industry, a great building manager is absolutely gold.

Anyway, Andrew Murray, Apartment Specialists, talking about what building managers do, when looking after an apartment complex.

If you have any questions about the responsibilities of a building manager, flick me an email at andrew@apartmentspecialists.co.nz or call +6421 424 892 and I’ll be happy to help you with your queries.

Cheers. Thank you.

Your apartment is measured from the middle of the wall if you live between two apartments and to the outside of the wall if your property is on a corner or one side is the edge of the building, the measurement is taken to the outside of the building.

SUMMARY:

When measuring an apartment, it is unfortunately not that simple. You actually own to the centre of the wall between the two apartments. However, if you live on the outside wall or the corner of the building you own to the outside of the building. This increases the size of your apartment.

Whilst this may seem strange this is how it is measured – but not many people know this, if you have any further queries please do ask us at Apartment Specialists.

What is even more surprising, is what is not included when measuring an apartment. What is not included is structural beams as they are holding the building together, as well as ducts as they have ventilation or wires within them. This is known as common property.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Good day, Andrew Murray here from the Apartment Specialists, and today we’ll be talking about measuring an apartment. It’s not as simple as it sounds. Most people think when you are measuring your apartment you go from wall to wall. That’s actually not the case. When it comes to the ownership of an apartment, you actually own to the centre of the wall.

So if you think of the wall and there’s a wall then another apartment. As an owner, you actually own to the centre of the wall and back. So if the wall is 30cm wide, then that means you’ve got a measurement of 15 cm. And if you’ve got a wall on the other side and you’ve got a neighbouring apartment, add another 15 cm. It actually makes your apartment larger.

If you’re on the side of the building, for example, if your apartment is on the corner, you don’t measure to the centre of that wall. You measure it to the outside of the building which makes it larger again. That’s something that very few people are aware of. Most people just go from the inside of the walls and think that’s the area of your apartment. Well, it’s actually not.

Now, what is more surprising is what is not included or what is not included in the area of your apartment. And that is, structural beams; because a structural beam is seen as common property. It’s rightly so because it’s actually holding up the whole building. If you’ve got a structural beam in your apartment, and I’ve got one in one of my apartments, this means you’ve also got to measure that beam and take that out of the equation.

The same goes for ducts and you may have a beam that when you knock on it it sounds hollow. But it’s probably got wiring in there and could have ventilation. Who knows what’s in there? But that is also common property, so when you measure that, that also needs to be taken out of the equation, because it’s common property – you don’t own it.

Anyway, I hope that helps. It’s a bit different to what you probably expected and happy measuring.

Cheers!

If you have any questions, flick me an email at andrew@apartmentspecialists.co.nz or call +6421 424 892 and I’ll be happy to help you with your queries.Your apartment is measured from the middle of the wall if you live between two apartments and to the outside of the wall if your property is on a corner or one side is the edge of the building, the measurement is taken to the outside of the building.

Summary:

Know what you are buying before investing off the plans. Understand all the details to ensure you end up with what you expected. This video and bio will give you 8 points to consider before purchasing a new build off the plans.

8 Quick points

1: speak to a local agent – find out the actual worth of the apartment and what will the worth be upon completion, this will guide if you are paying a fair price for the apartment

2: Use your own lawyer – not the developers suggested lawyer

3: Research the developer, know their prior work and reputation

4: Research the architect -check out the quality and history of their prior work

5: Completion takes longer than expected – what are your rights? Know this before purchasing off the plans

6: The apartment upon completion has something wrong with it – for example there are structural pillars in the apartment that you weren’t expecting or appliances that don’t’ work – how do you ensure you are protected?

7: ensuring the sunlight and views are what you expected and will you always have them – finding out what is happening around the area and future developments

8: Digital imagery can be misleading – look at them with a cautious eye and use google images to aid your decision in buying off the plans

TRANSCRIPTION:

Good day, Andrew Murray from Apartment Specialists talking about buying off the plans. I’ve just done eight points there. We’ll make sure if you’re going to buy off the plans that it’s going to be a good purchase, because there are a lot of risks in coming to buying off the plans. Okay, here are the eight important points.

Number one is, when people buy off the plans, they often pay too much. Especially where a lot of the purchaser are overseas or just not in touch with the local market. The first thing you need to do is speak to a local agent. And maybe two local agents. Ask them, firstly, what if this apartment was built right now, what would it be worth in today’s market? When is it projected to be finished? With the market the way, it’s going, what do you think it would be worth then? Now, that’s going to give you a very clear indication regarding price, which is one of the most important things.

Number two is use your own lawyer or find a lawyer recommended by a friend. If you are from overseas, then its better using their suggested lawyers. Now, I’m not pointing fingers, since I’ve just heard and seen a lot of things happen. The reason for this is, it’s your lawyer’s job to check things like sunset clauses which, for example, you’re probably hearing that and going, “What does that mean?”

Well, that’s something that’s very important. That’s why your lawyer’s in charge and things like the developer can’t make any changes to the unit from when you purchase it. Until it’s, when it’s completed, if things change. You know, what happens if you find mistakes or errors or there are things that aren’t done correctly? All that kind of stuff, so do not use their lawyers.

Number three is to look at the developer’s history. When buying off the plans, you’re kind of buying into the future, but you can predict the future by looking at what apartments the developer has built in the past. How are they stacking up? Are they leaky? Have they had issues? Did their prices stay the same or did they grow in value? That kind of things.

Number four is is the architect’s history. The developer may be fine, but if they are using an architect, then you need to know the architect’s previous buildings, because at the end of the day it still comes down to design regarding whether it’s going to be leaky or not. It’s not just the developer. So always ask, “What other buildings has this architect designed?”

Now next, you want to know and obviously I mentioned it before – what can happen between you purchasing off the plans now and completion time? We want to ask, “What happens if it overruns?” For example, it takes longer than expected?

Next, what happens if you inspect your unit? It’s finished, but the appliances don’t work.What happens if, like in a high-profile case recently, your apartment is finished and you find that there is a pillar in the middle of your lounge? Are you protected? These are important things to know about.

Number seven is your views and your sunlight, and that is highly important. Most likely when you are buying off the plans, they are showing pictures of great views. Are they protected? Because off the plans, you have got no idea;  in the future something else could be built right in front of the apartment building. I’ve seen people buy off the plans and by the time the building’s finished, someone else has built a building right in front it. So you really need to check that out.

Number eight, is when you look at all these photo’s and they are giving you these graphical images, do not be taken away. You need to know if it’s taken-in by them. When you look at them, say, for example, when they look at that pool, ask, “How big is that pool?” I’ve seen pools in developments that have 250 apartments plus, and they’d be a great size if that pool was in my house, but not for an apartment complex. So, just make sure you look at those graphical images and just think logically and go, “Yes. Okay, maybe it looks beautiful, but would this be suitable for an apartment complex?”

Anyway, hope that helps. It was a bit too long, but buying off the plans, go through those eight points and you know, if it ticks all those boxes, go ahead.

Cheers, bye.

Summary:

By the square metre and different floors from the bottom to the top may very due to views and so on.

The units are priced by a set amount per square metre. The metre will be decided on level of the builder so the higher you go are usually more expensive.

This is predetermined by the developers prior to start of the construction.

Being careful of digital imagery and the photos advertised are of the correct level and views and so on. The marketing companies often don’t put the correct photos of the apartment advertised.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Good day, Andrew Murray here from Apartment Specialist, talking about buying off the plans and how they price the units. As you can see here, you’ve got a building that just came up today on TradeMe and in the papers.

You can see you’ve got three arrows there. You have got 8,000 meters squared, you’ve got $10000 per meter squared, and you’ve got $12000 per meter squared.

Basically, when a development comes out, they have to do this and it is rough numbers, they are also changing it a bit. They have to consider everything because of the cost to build, but on average, a developer to make money has to average selling all their apartments on a development at 10,000 per meter squared. So, that means they sell ones up the top for a lot more and the ones down the bottom, which attract the buyers in. These units are not as favourable, and won’t have the views or are facing south for a lower price, or otherwise they couldn’t sell them.

We go to straight to TradeMe here, and this is a really good example that shows you how to do it.

What they do is they first introduce you by coming in. First of all, you can see that it is listed today. SKHY High Apartments and this is Newton. This is in the fringe. You can see here they come in and go, “Okay, it has spectacular views.” They will have the same pictures, every single one. This will be the penthouse, no doubt. If you divide 74 meters squared into 615,000, you are left with 7,600 dollars per square meter.

Now, that is extremely cheap. That seems very attractive, but if you go back to this picture, they are going to be the ones that nobody wants. Some of that attracts you to go and inquire and find out about it, because it looks like a fantastic deal. Which is very smart in my opinion. Just understand this, then if you go back to some of the high end listings.

I’ve actually priced it here, which is not normally what they do. If you go this one say, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, you’ve got 175 meters squared. It’s for $2 million and $65,000. If you divide 175 into the $2 million figure you get round it down to four. For $11,000, sorry – its for $11,800 per square meter, right?

You can see the per square meter value is creeping up. And in all of these, there are no car parks.  You can see how they are doing it. Same here, this one is more and that has got a few square meters, it comes out as $11,600 per square meter. Obviously, close to that $12000 figure I was talking about.

Then we go down. We look at another three bedroom. But that is price by negotiation and one’s similar to before. Here, oh this one’s a lot cheaper. Okay, there’s a different square meterage rate, but if you divide 152 meters squared into $1.3 million, you get $8600 per square meter. Again, this will be a unit that’s not as favourable. It’s without the views. If you look, they still all have the same photos, as if it is the penthouse.

That is how they market, so be very aware of when you are looking at all these listings on Trade Me, Realestate.co.nz or in the newspaper. The prices they show are just a marketing tool. Otherwise, there is nothing wrong with buying off the plans.

I think  if you look at these apartments, I actually think they are really good, and the reason why. I’ll just bring it up again and I think I deleted it. I can bring up one of these photo’s and make it larger and its  because they’ve got, what it looks like here they have got views. The company built out, they are large sizes, which is the key.

A lot of these developers are coming up with very small apartments. You know, one bedroom around 40 square meters and things like that. Charging huge money for them, when really it’s just not there in the future, in my opinion.

But yeah, just be aware of when you are looking at all this stuff on Trade Me and realestate.co.nz. While you are actually looking at in most cases, you are looking at prices to attract you in and then up-sell you up.

Anyway, I hope this helped. Andrew Murray from Apartment Specialists and this is all about selling off the plan prices.

Thank you.

Apartment Specialists Podcast No: 143

Summary:

Many apartment building do not allow pets and if they do allow pets yours may not necessarily be permitted. This is due it being a Body Corporate committee decision. If you move in with the assumption of your pet’s being allowed without permission, you may then be looking at the difficult decision of not having your pet in the building or moving elsewhere. You must get Body Corporate decision prior to occupancy. Some Body Corporates may have rules in regards to size, type of animal and so on, please check this prior to signing your purchase agreement or have a clause that stipulates your particular pet is allowed.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Andrew Murray from the Apartment Specialists. Today we will be talking about pets. And this is a big warning! Just because a building has pets in it, or it has allowed the pets to be in it, it does not mean that your pet will be accepted. Now I have just had a situation where I spoke to the chairman about a purchaser who had a pet.  I asked them and I said, “I have got a purchaser who has got two small dogs,”and the chairman said, “Yeah, it should be fine.”

So I relayed this back to the purchaser and told them to read the body corporate minutes. In the body corporate minutes it says, “Pets are allowed if you go and once they have been approved by the body corporate committee.” Anyway, the apartment was sold and then they did not actually apply to the committee. They just moved in with their pets, and then after that someone complained. They decided to put in an application and the committee changed their mind.

The other dog that was in the complex passed away and the committee decided to change the rules. Moving forward, they do not allow pets in the building. Now imagine if this was you; this should be gutting. So just make sure, before you purchase an apartment that you actually put a condition in there.

Make sure it is approved before the purchase goes through and this is really important. For example, I had another one where the committee decided that pets over 30 centimetres high were not allowed. This particular pet was 40 centimetres high and was not allowed. I have just got to make sure that you really get this through. If you have got a pet and you are looking for an apartment that allows pets, even if there are pets in the building, make sure that you put a condition in your seller purchase agreement making sure the committee actually approves your pet.

Anyway, I hope that helps. And this is Condos as I said. From Apartment Specialists, goodbye, Andrew Murray.

Cheers!

Summary:

Tasks prior to moving in consist of: re-reading the Body Corporate minutes, contact the building manager, make the Body Corporate and building manger aware of your moving details and introduce yourself to the chairman of the committee.

You do need to do a few things prior to moving into your new apartment. Firstly, re-read your Body Corporate rules. This will remind and inform of what procedures may be in place when moving day arrives.

Contact the building manager- update them with when you moving details.

Ask them the best energy supplies for the building, this can be different to a house.

If there is a loading bay – see where it is, this will help make your life easier when moving.

Ask about the lifts and if there are covers to protect both furniture and the lift.

Make sure the Body Corporate and building manger have your contact details in case of emergencies.

Introduce yourself either in person or by phone to the chairman.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Good day, Andrew Murray here from Apartment Specialists. You are moving into your new apartment and you have got several things you need to do.

Now first, you probably should have already done this, but re-read the body corporate rules. This will help you or stop you making a fool of yourself. Also, doing things that are quite basic, where if you weren’t aware of it, you can easily make a mistake. You know, certain ways you have to move in, and certain things you have to do, because every building is specific.

Number two is to contact the building manager. There is nothing worse for a complex or a building manager to have people moving in without them knowing. Contact the building manager and ask first of all, “Who’s the best power supplier?” Because there are different companies that serve different buildings. Different connections and different kind of meters. Some are better than others. In the CBD, it’s very different. Often some do not have meter-readers.

Number three, if you do not have a car park and even if you do have a car park, you need ask when you can use the loading bay. If there is one or a spare car park to help you move all your stuff into your apartment.

Number four is in the lift. What a lot of people do not realise is, especially not in the nicer-buildings. They actually have covers  that hang upon the outside of the lifts, or also from the inside of the lifts. They do it to protect the lifts and these need to be put on.

Also, when is the best time to move in? Because you do not want to be blocking the lift at peak time between 8:00 and 9:00 while everybody’s trying to get to work. That is going to not make you very popular. And obviously you want to move in and make friends.

Anyway, make sure you ask advice on that. Number six is to make sure you give your emergency contact details to the building manager and the body corporate. Now, that is just because they may need to get hold of you, and certain things might happen if you go on holiday.

Number seven is get the chairman’s details. Give him a quick call and introduce yourself. If you have any questions, ask him. That way, you have got someone you can deal with directly regarding your building. If things happen over your building, or if you are unsure of that you may want to be approved.

You can always give your feedback to the chairman or go to the committee. Then, if you want to take one step further, you can ask to be on the committee of your body corporate.

Anyway, hope that helps, and yes, happy moving in.

Cheers, Bye!

Summary:

A building Warrant of Fitness ensures the building is up to standard where shared amenities area and in sound working order in your apartment building.

A lot of people are not aware that every apartment complex has to get a Warrant of Fitness. Just like your car, if it has got any systems that need to be in working order it means it has to have a Warrant of Fitness each year.

It is the owner of the building which is all the apartment owners or the Body Corporate. It is their responsibility to make sure this is done each year and any maintenance needed is addressed promptly.

This is to comply to the local authority, which is the council and needs to be displayed in the building. You will usually see it in a common area like a foyer.

The person who issues the ‘warrant’ is commonly called an I.Q.P. an Independently Qualified Person.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Good day, this is Andrew Murray from Apartment Specialists. A lot of people are not aware that every apartment complex has to get a Warrant of Fitness. Just like your car, if it has got any systems that need to be in working order. It means it has to have a Warrant of Fitness each year. It is the owner of the building which is all the apartment’s owners or the body corporate, The body corporate is responsible to get a Warrant of Fitness every year.

This is to comply to the local authority, which is the council and also display it in the building. When you look in the apartment, you may see a Warrant of Fitness in the corner. It is usually in a frame and it will be something like this. For an example, this is one would be in the Citta Complex. You can see there is the address. You will see the basic details of the building and you will know when it was first constructed.

Basically, a single dwelling does not need a Building Warrant of Fitness, but if it has certain systems in place. Like when it is dealing with multi-unit dwellings. It needs to be indicated in a Warrant of Fitness. Does the building has  automatic doors, sprinkler systems, or things like that? Does the building has a security system that are reliant on making sure that everybody is safe inside?

You can see it there if you have got automatic sprinkler systems, manual emergency warning systems, access controlled doors  and  so on. Obviously, passenger lifts. Having a lift means you are obviously going to need a Warrant of Fitness. So, it is important that the Body Corporate realises or the Owners’ Committee or as an owner, you realise that you are important. It is your responsibility to make sure that the building is up to standard so get its Warrant of Fitness. And that is displayed in the building and just like a car, if it fails, you have got to get it fixed. It iss pretty simple.

Here is another example, it is a one-pager and a Building Warrant of Fitness is, here is actually the person who inspects it. It is commonly called an I.Q.P., which is an Independently Qualified Person. Pretty self-explanatory really.

Anyway, I hope that helps. Andrew Murray,  Apartments Specialists.

Cheers, bye.

Summary:

There are certain changes you can and cannot make when renovating your apartment.

Many believe only aesthetically you can’t affect others however that is not true – the Body Corporate may have extra rules too. For instance, you may only be able to have blinds not curtains or even if your apartment is big you cannot convert it to a two-bedroom unit as the building does not want extra people living in the building.

Another reason for not being able create extra rooms may be due to ventilation. For example, if you are going to put in a second room you have to have ventilation and the right amount of light getting into that room. Otherwise it’s illegal for it to be a room where you can have people sleeping there but it may be okay for a study.

You also have the RMA or Resource Management Act. This is what I would call annoying but is a necessary evil. This act is controlling what we do with our apartments. You cannot take a 60 square metre apartment and turn it into a 4 bedroom. That would be inhumane underneath the current district plan and RMA or Resource Management Act.

You need to be aware if you have a heritage apartment and this is when the Resource Management Act can become quite strict but it is about keeping our heritage like it is

It can be a little more complicated than you think, but the best thing to do is consult your Body Corporate. If you are going to buy an apartment, you need to put in a condition that it is going to be approved by the Body Corporate.

Be aware to follow these processes as when you go to sell your apartment and people get a LIM report and modifications have been done and they’re not showing up on the plans of the unit, that’s going to become pretty obvious. It could affect your sales price hugely or worst case, you could be made to put it back to its original state.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Good day, Andrew Murray here from the Apartment Specialists. Today, I will be talking about apartment renovations. What can you do and what do you have to do?

Apartment renovations come under three categories that you need to be aware of. There are three acts that is commonly known as Unit Titles Act, 2010. This act has the guidelines on how the apartments should be run. You also got the Building Act, 2004, which has the rules regarding the structure and ventilation of the building. You have got the Resource Management Act. Now that is often referred to as RMA, from 1991, which is all about how we use resources as New Zealanders.

To give you an idea, basically, a lot of people just assume that you can do anything to your apartment. As long as you do not aesthetically affect other owners or the structure. For example, you do not knock down a wall or a pillar that could affect the structure of the building. You also do not paint your deck pink when all the other decks are grey because that is going to affect the values of the building.

Now, that is actually not true. It is a lot more complex than that. When you are dealing with the Unit Titles Act, you have also got to adhere to the body corporate rules. For example, in the building that I live in, you can only have blinds. You cannot have curtains or anything like that. When you are doing up your apartment, you should know that. You should be aware of that, otherwise, you are going to get asked to take them down. Also, things like, if you have a one-bedroom, we would not let you convert  that into a two-bedroom unit. Even though it is quite large, because we do not want extra people living in our complex. The body corporate rules are also really important that you need to go through and that is for any building that is specific.

Number two, when you are dealing with the Building Act. That one is pretty obvious. Obviously, it comes down to the structural side of it. You cannot structurally affect the building unneededly. The other one is ventilation. For example, if you are going to put in a second room you have to have ventilation and the right amount of light getting into that room. Otherwise it’s illegal for it to be a room where you can have people sleeping there. It’s okay for a study, but that’s a different thing. We have different rules for that kind of situation.

You also have the RMA or Resource Management Act. This is when it comes down to what I would call annoying but is a necessary evil. This act is controlling what we do with our apartments. You cannot take a 60-square-metre apartment and turn it into a 4-bedroom. That would be inhumane underneath the current district plan and RMA or Resource Management Act. In those situations, if you had building consent and you are knocking down the walls and all that kind of thing, you should ring up the council and ask their approval.

Get what’s called a Building Consent Exempt Form, and that means you do not have to apply for consent to do that work. That is pretty easy and then with Resource Management you need to also ring up the council, and tell them what you are doing. Seeing if you’re going to need any consent from the council to do what you need to do. Whether that’s to put in another room, make alterations to the unit and so on.

One thing to be aware of is if you have a heritage apartment and this is when the Resource Management Act can become quite strict is probably the best word. But it is about keeping our heritage like it is. For example, I am in a building where the inside of the apartment is regarded as heritage as well as the outside. You have to be very aware of affecting what they call the inner fabric and so I had to get Resource consent to do modifications to that unit.

It’s a little bit more complicated than you think, but the best thing to do is obviously consult your body corporate. If you are going to buy an apartment, you need to put in a condition that it is going to be approved by the body corporate. You  ring up the planning desk at the council and ask for their advice from the building side, as well as the resource management side, and then that puts you in pretty safe. Because you may then do stuff without people knowing it and that may seem the easy way.

However, when you go to sell your apartment and people, get a LIM report. Modifications have been done and they’re not showing up on the plans of the unit and that’s going to become pretty obvious. It could affect your sales price hugely or worst case, you could be made to put it back to its original state.

Anyway, I hope that helps. If you have any more questions about apartment modifications, please let me know. Any specific buildings that you need to be aware of. I hope this has been helpful.

Andrew Murray, Apartment Specialists. Cheers. Bye.

Summary:

It is important as an apartment owner that you know all of your responsibilities. Ideally you need to learn it before you own an apartment.

Paying your Body Corporate levies and costs on time is the most important thing to do. If you don’t pay it, you’re going to get penalised, but the big one is, you’ve got no vote. You have no say and you cannot actually complain or do anything.

Adhere to the Body Corporate rules. These are things like you are not allowed to be washing on the balcony.

Make sure your tenants and guests adhere to the Body Corporate rules.

If your tenants are not adhering to the Body Corporate rules, you are going to be liable.

Make sure your apartment does not affect the buildings of other apartments. For example, structure. You cannot make modifications to your apartment that affect the structure of the overall building.

Allow access to your unit, if the Body Corporate requires. This is an important one as a couple of times a year the Body Corporate has to do certain checks. Those checks have to be in place for you to get your insurance and your building insurance.

Informing Body Corporate of your contact details for any changes.

If renting your apartment, you need to give them your property manager’s details.  You do not want the body corporate ringing you if there is a problem with the tenants.

TRANSCRIPTION:

What do apartment owners have to do? Good day, Andrew Murray here from Apartment Specialists. You are about to own an apartment. So what does that mean? What are your responsibilities?

It is really important you understand and it is pretty simple, but there’s a few you may not be aware of. However, you really need to know all of your responsibilities. Obviously, you need to learn it before you own an apartment. I’ve got my nine main points of the things you have to do. You can do more than that if you want to be part of the committee, so you’re more involved in running your building. But as an owner, if you just want to live in the building and do the bare minimum, these are the things you have to do.

Number one: Pay your body corporate levy and costs on time. Obviously, the money goes to the budget, which will run the whole building. If you don’t pay it you’re going to get penalised, but the big one is, you’ve got no vote. You have no say and you cannot actually complain or you can’t do anything. Make sure you pay your body corporate levy.

Number two: Adhere to the body corporate rules. These are things like you are not allowed to be washing on the balcony or don’t put washing on your balcony. Number two, if you’re not allowed to paint your balcony, which in most cases is a definite no. You do not go and paint the balcony pink, because your owners are not going to be very happy.

Number three: Make sure your tenants and guests adhere to the body corporate rules also. Realise that if you are renting your apartment out, you are the person in the firing line. If your tenants are not adhering to the body corporate rules, you are going to be liable.  Make sure your tenants and your guests do.

Number four: Make sure your apartment does not affect the buildings of other apartments. What comes into this is, for example, structure. You cannot make modifications to your apartment that affect the structure of the overall building. Going back to what I said before, that is the reason why you cannot paint your deck pink. Because it is not going to make the whole building look very good. It affects the value of the building. There are other ways of looking at apartment complex and you got one balcony that is completely painted pink. The other ones are white and that is not going to look good.

Number five: Allow access to your unit, if the body corporate requires. This is an important one, because for example, a couple of times a year the body corporate has to do certain things like checks. Those checks have to be in place for you to get your insurance and your building insurance. Things like checking that all the fire alarms work, and you’ll have ones in your unit or the sensors for example.

Number six: Informing body corporate of your contact details for any changes. If something happens they need to contact you. For example, if the pipes from the unit above start leaking and they are going into your tenants apartment. They will need to contact you immediately.

Number seven: Advise your body corporate of your change of ownership. Generally, your lawyers can do that, so that probably comes in when you sell your apartment.

Number eight: If renting your apartment, you need to give them your property manager’s details. Now by law, if you have a contract for more than three weeks, you have to have a property manager. This is really important, because  you are paying your property manager a fee, or a percentage of the rent. The manager will look after your apartment. You do not want the body corporate ringing you if there is a problem with tenants. Make sure you give them your rental manager’s details.

Number nine:  I’m just going to go out and actually, I have already mentioned it before. Just remember, pay your body corporate levy otherwise you have no vote at your AGM. It is like you are not even part of the body corporate. I know I repeated that one there, but it is obviously the most obvious one.

I hope that helps. Obviously, you can get more involved in your investment, your apartment if you want to. I would highly encourage you to do so. I’m on various committees of apartments I own. Which is obviously, going to the committee, get involved in the day-to-day operations. It’s not that much work, but it’s about putting time back in and you will get a lot out of it. When you are involved in how to enhance your own buildings value and improvements.

Now I hope that helps, Andrew Murray from Apartment Specialists and talk soon.

Cheers, bye.