Owning a home - it's the ultimate Kiwi dream.  As a membership organisation, HOBANZ hears from a wide range of home owners and residents. Through the knowledge gained, below you will find independent guidance to ensure you achieve the maximum value for your investment.

In this section you will find:

Regular Maintenance

Your home will be one of the most valuable purchases you may ever make so keeping it well maintained is safe guarding your investment.

Regular home maintenance will enable you to identify potential problems earlier and plan for repairs or replacements.

You will need to have an “emergency fund” for events such as a leaky roof or a water cylinder needing replacing and we would recommend putting a sum of money aside for annual maintenance and repairs.

If your home is older you may need to budget more as the materials will already have had a number of years wear and tear. Appliances have limited life spans and will need to be replaced in time, see our chart below.

Appliance

Average Life Span

Fridge/Freezer

20 Years

Clothes Dryer

18 Years

Range/Oven

18 Years

Washing Machine

13 Years

Water Heater

13 Years

Dishwasher

12 Years

In setting up a home maintenance programme, you should consider both the interior and exterior of your property. The programme should include things as simple as replacing the batteries in your smoke alarms to cleaning drains in the driveway.

It may be necessary to engage a specialist contractor for some jobs, e.g. a roofing contractor who can carry out an inspection of flashings and gutters. By preventing leaks from the roof you will stop damage to the ceilings and decay to the roof structure.

The exterior paint of your property will also need to be regularly maintained to ensure the life of your cladding. For monolithic cladding, the paint is the waterproof barrier for the home and it is essential that the cladding is regularly painted to avoid any weathertightness issues. The frequency of painting will depend on the material used and the location of your property. We recommend you follow the manufacturer’s guide.

Our seasonal Home Maintenance Programme gives a guide of when some of the more important internal and external maintenance should be attended to. We would recommend you add these as reminders in your diary / calendar so that they don’t just slip by.

When to Engage a Professional

Basic repairs such as replacing a tap washer or cleaning the spouting are in the realms of most people, although certain safety features such as turning off the water at the mains and securing your ladder appropriately must always be taken into account.

When it comes to carrying out your annual maintenance programme you should always consider whether you are competent to undertake the repair and when to engage a professional. Our Home Maintenance Programme does suggest where it may be appropriate to engage a professional and where the home owner should be able to complete the task. We would, however, suggest that before you attempt a repair you consider:

  • Do you have all the equipment needed to carry out the repair?
  • What safety precautions should you take (e.g., turning off the mains power)?
  • Will you affect the structure of the building? We would suggest, if the answer is yes, you engage a qualified professional who has appropriate insurance should any damage occur during the repair.

Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when carrying out maintenance and engage a suitably qualified professional if required. To achieve the expected durability of the material or building element used on your home, it is important that you follow the maintenance requirements stated by the manufacturer. Details of the materials used will be within the plans and specification documents submitted as part of the building consent. A copy of the building consent can be purchased from your local council.

Keep Your Records

With more and more emphasis being placed on compliance documents by the consumer and local bodies it is important to retain documents for all work carried out on your home. This also applies to any work on the services such as power, gas, water drainage, roofing or cladding.

Keep all warranties in a safe place and make sure you fill in the details and return to the manufacturer if required, including proof of purchase.

Make sure any work carried out by a contractor that needs to be certified records the contractor’s licence number. Stay away from contractors wanting cash payments and are reluctant to issue tax invoices or their licence number. Always ask for verification of skills and certification before work commences on your property.

Resources

Owning in a Body Corporate

If you own a property that has a body corporate, you are part of the body corporate. This is different from the body corporate committee.  As a member of the body corporate, you have a responsibility to know and understand the following information.

Long Term Maintenance Plan (LTMP) 

Under the new Unit Titles Act all bodies corporate must have a (LTMP) in place.  The LTMP must be for a minimum of 10 years and reviewed every two years.  You should be very wary of maintenance plans that are prepared for the minimum of 10 years as there may be some significant maintenance that falls just outside of the 10 year period that has been assessed. We say that a prudent body corporate ought to have a 30 year maintenance plan and build adequate maintenance reserves in their Long Term Maintenance Fund to fully fund the LTMP over the years. You must apply extreme caution when analysing the financial records and the LTMP to ensure that not only is the LTMP adequate, but that the Body Corporate has built up adequate reserves otherwise you risk assuming a significant contingent liability if you buy the unit.

Owners' Rights and Obligations

Typically an owner's obligations will be to:

  • Grant the body corporate access to your unit at reasonable times for purposes set out in the Act.
  • Comply with the body corporate rules.
  • Pay all required funds to the body corporate on time.
  • Repair and maintain your unit so there is no damage or loss in value to neighbouring units or common property.
  • Not carry out any structural changes to the unit without written consent of the body corporate.

Body Corporate Chairperson

The Unit Titles Act 2010 introduced the new role of Body Corporate Chairperson, who must be elected by the body corporate at every Annual General Meeting. It is a requirement of the Act that the Chairperson must be an owner. The role of Chairperson has clearly defined duties in accordance with the Unit Title Regulations:

  • Maintain the register of unit owners.
  • Prepare the agenda for each general meeting.
  • Chair each general meeting (unless it is agreed at the start of the meeting that another person will chair).
  • Prepare minutes of each general meeting.
  • Record resolutions voted on and whether they were passed.
  • Keep financial accounts and records.
  • Submit the body corporate’s financial statements to an independent auditor.
  • Receive reports from the body corporate committee and distribute them to unit owners.
  • Sign documents on behalf of the body corporate.
  • Prepare and issue notices of resolutions to be passed without a general meeting.
  • Notify unit owners of the result of any vote on a resolution to be passed without a general meeting.
  • Notify the body corporate committee of any delegation of a duty or power to the body corporate committee.
  • Undertake any other duties relating to the administration of the body corporate that the body corporate has decided by ordinary resolution to confer on the Chairperson.

The body corporate can choose to delegate some or all of these tasks either to the body corporate committee or to a body corporate manager under a contractual arrangement. If employing a body corporate manager it is important to set out clearly within the contract exactly what the manager is expected to do.

For the sake of efficiency there seems little point in the Body Corporate Chairperson not being part of the body corporate committee. In many cases the Body Corporate Chairperson will also chair the committee and the meetings.

If the sitting Body Corporate Chairperson sells their unit, they must give notice of their intention to resign from their post. The Body Corporate Chairperson can resign at any time giving notice in writing to the Body Corporate.  As the role of Body Corporate Chairperson is a requirement of the Act, following resignation or removal, the position must be filled as soon as possible.

Any owner, including directors of company owned units and trustees of trust owned units, within the body corporate are eligible to be elected to the role of Body Corporate Chairperson as long as they are nominated by another unit owner and agree to be nominated.