Property Law.

Buying or
Selling Property

Whether you are a first home buyer or have been in the property market for a number of years, it is important to seek legal advice when buying or selling property.

Buying or Selling Property

The purchase of real estate is often the most expensive purchase you will make.  Seek legal advice to better understand your rights and responsibilities for the different types of property ownership and to understand the interests noted on the title.

Different forms of title ownership affect your rights of ownership of the property, such as fee simple, unit titles (apartments), cross lease estates and leasehold.  All of these may provide additional responsibilities.  We can advise and discuss with you the legal implications of your proposed purchase before signing on the dotted line.

When selling, you should be aware of your responsibilities and obligations, such as commitments to tenants, vendor warranties or unit title requirements.  We can help you understand the fine print of an agreement for sale and purchase.

There are different forms of title ownership, all of which can affect how you can deal with the property and each come with their own legal issues.

For example:


(i) Unit Title/Stratum Estates

Anyone who has lived or owned property in an apartment or multi tenant building will be familiar with the issues that can arise when a number of people share properties in close proximity.  Body Corporates and the rules which apply to your building come in all different shapes and sizes and can affect how you live.  Issues as to who is responsible for what maintenance, what your Body Corporate levy covers and what consists of common property can arise.

Unit title properties have in place additional requirements on the owners and Body Corporates as to disclosure when selling.  Failure to adequately disclose can result in a cancelled contract.


(ii) Cross Lease Estates

Cross lease properties are common yet often misunderstood. A cross lease is a type of property ownership where you own an undivided share in the land and a lease for the actual building as shown on the flats plan. A lease document is registered on the title and this lease sets out the respective rights and responsibilities for each owner. Consideration of the terms of the lease is needed when dealing with the land or surrounding property. Each cross lease is unique and has different common areas, exclusive use areas and restrictions. Alterations made to the building without the right steps being taken can result in an issue with the other owners or the cross lease title being defective.


(iii) Other Issues

Instruments registered on the title such as easements and land covenants affect the land.  These can impact access to your or your neighbour’s property and provide restrictions on intended building works.  Any instrument should be considered as to its legal effect to determine whether what you are purchasing is what you actually want.


(iv) Tax Statements

As part of your property sale and purchase, you will need to complete a Land Tax Statement.  You will need to advise us of your residency status ie NZ citizen, NZ resident, work permit and whether the property is your main home.

For clients that are selling or purchasing property through their trust or company, please ensure that the entity has an IRD number to enter into the tax statement.  This information is required to complete settlement of the sale and purchase of the property.

Another tax statement which the purchaser needs to complete is an Overseas Investment land statement.  This information is required from every purchaser seeking to transfer property – whether an individual, company or trust.


(v) Kiwisaver and Home Start grant

For many first home buyers, there is an opportunity to purchase their first home using their Kiwisaver funds.  There are criteria you must meet in order to access these funds.  Please check with your Kiwisaver provider and request the withdrawal form if you meet the criteria.

The Government has also encouraged property ownership through its Home Start grant.  Please refer to the website and the checklist for further information:


(vi) Other Property Matters

We are experienced in advising clients on many other property matters, some of which overlap with other areas of law.  These include the sale and purchase of businesses, and includes employment matters and subdivisions.  Feel free to contact us to discuss these on 09 475 6410 or by email at