Apartment Renovations: Interesting facts that you need to know
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.
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.