All unit owners, occupiers, tenants and the body corporate must follow the body corporate operational rules that apply to their development.

The body corporate operational rules help the body corporate govern the unit title development. All unit owners, occupiers, tenants and the body corporate must follow the body corporate operational rules that apply to their development.

Default operational rules are set out in Schedule 1 of the Unit Titles Regulations 2011 (external link) . The default body corporate operational rules apply to all unit title developments, however subject to section 106 of the Unit Titles Act 2010 bodies corporate are able to revoke, amend or add to the default rules.

Unit owners should make sure they have the most up-to-date copy of the operational rules that apply to their development. 

Download the guide to Body corporate operational rules below.

Kinds of rules the body corporate should have

The kind of rules a body corporate needs depends on the kind of development. Residential developments will need different rules than commercial or industrial developments, and mixed use developments might need some of each.

Body corporate rules also reflect the individual characteristics of the development – whether it is urban or suburban, the kind of common property in the development (for example, if there is a gym or swimming pool) and how the individual unit owners like to live.

This section contains information specific to four different categories of developments that you can use to help you decide on what rules are appropriate for your development:

The examples given in these pages are general. If you are designing body corporate operational rules to add to the default rules in regulations you should consider the specific circumstances of your development. Before making changes to the body corporate operational rules, the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment recommends that you obtain independent legal advice from your lawyer.

What are body corporate rules

Body corporate operational rules help the body corporate govern the unit title development. They are a set of expectations placed on unit owners and help prevent disputes between people who live and work in the development.

The Unit Titles Regulations 2011 prescribe minimum default rules. The default rules cover issues applicable to most unit title developments. The default operational rules (see Schedule 1 of the Regulations) are:

An owner or occupier of a unit must not –

  1. damage or deface the common property
  2. leave rubbish or recycling material on the common property
  3. create noise likely to interfere with the use or enjoyment of the unit title development by other owners or occupiers
  4. park on the common property unless the body corporate has designated it for car parking, or the body corporate consents
  5. interfere with the reasonable use or enjoyment of the common property by other owners or occupiers

An owner or occupier of a unit must dispose of rubbish hygienically and tidily.

The Act enables bodies corporate to add to or amend these rules to suit the individual characteristics of their development.

All unit owners, occupiers, tenants and the body corporate must obey the body corporate operational rules that apply to the development they live or work in.

As a body corporate can amend or add to the default rules set out in the Regulations you should ensure you have the most up-to-date copy of the operational rules that apply to your development. Contact your body corporate chairperson or body corporate manager for a copy if you don’t have one.

Enforcing the rules

The body corporate and unit owners have the power to enforce the body corporate rules.

You might like to consider dealing directly with the unit owner as a first step. Often, people are unaware that there are body corporate rules or what the body corporate rules are. You could take along a copy of the rules and remind them that they need to follow them.

If the person who is not following the body corporate rules is a tenant, you should deal directly with the unit owner, landlord or their representative, in the first instance. They are responsible for ensuring the tenant follows the rules.

If dealing directly with the unit owner doesn’t work, or isn’t appropriate, you can make an application for dispute resolution to the Tenancy Tribunal or through the Courts.

See Unit Titles disputes for information on the disputes process.

Making changes to the rules

There are restrictions on what you can make operational rules on. Additions or alterations must:

  • relate to the control, management, administration, use or enjoyment of the units or the common property; or
  • relate to the regulation of the body corporate.

In addition, alterations or additions to the operational rules cannot:

  • confer or impose any powers or duties on the body corporate that are not incidental (do not relate) to the powers and duties the body corporate has under the Act; and
  • be inconsistent with any provision of the Act, Regulations and any other act or rule of law.

If you decide to change the operational rules you must pass an ordinary resolution to do so.

Changes to the body corporate operational rules should be fair and even-handed. If you disagree with changes the body corporate makes to the rules and voted against the change, you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal or courts for relief on the basis the rule change is unfair or inequitable.

The bodies corporate of developments that existed before the new Act came into force had a transitional period up to 1 October 2012 to review their existing rules. If the body corporate did not review and change its existing rules the new default operational rules replaced any existing rules on 1 October 2012.

Putting the changes into effect

You need to lodge rule changes with Land Information New Zealand in order for them to take effect. Complete Form 15 - Notice of change to body corporate operational rules, which can be downloaded below.

Lawyers and conveyancing practitioners can lodge the form electronically using Landonline. People not registered to use Landonline will need to lodge the form through their lawyer or conveyancing practitioner, or manually with Land Information New Zealand.

How to lodge a manual dealing with Land Information New Zealand (external link) .