Multi-unit developments and establishing title

06/09/2017

Practitioners dealing with multi-unit developments often have difficulty locating the original title holder to the common areas, writes Dean Regan in the July 2017 Gazette.

A shot at the title

Practitioners working in apartment-complex conveyancing and management-company litigation increasingly have to rectify the title of the common areas of multi-unit development complexes.

Whether this arises in seeking to rectify the title for an individual apartment, or on foot of a personal injuries claim within the common areas of the complex itself, practitioners often have a problem locating the original title holder to the common areas – generally the former developer. This is rendered more difficult where the developer or title holder is no longer in existence, and has failed to transfer the common areas in accordance with the scheme of disposal for the development, writes Dean Regan.

Solving the issue

In these developments, full implementation of the scheme of disposal by the transfer of common areas to the owners’ management company is an essential element in completing the title of each apartment owner. If this becomes impossible – because of the dissolution of the developer, the management company, or both – the title of each apartment owner remains incomplete. This position will have ramifications for the future sale and transfer of such properties.

There are a number of avenues available to remedy this situation, depending on the status of the former title holder of the common areas. Regan, a barrister with a particular focus on equity, tort and regulatory law, examines the options available to practitioners, along with their pros and cons, for the Gazette.

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