Buyer beware: Christchurch’s property market’s hidden costs

Written by Glenn Cooper - Partner (Litigation)

A recent article in the press a couple of weeks ago highlighted that there are several houses in Christchurch which were never correctly fixed after the Canterbury Earthquakes and as a result may be financially toxic. People purchasing these houses run the risk that they may be buying into an insurance nightmare, all over again or alternatively may be purchasing a property with hidden damage which may need to be repaired at their cost down the track.

This highlights the need for prospective purchases of properties to be properly informed about the house they are purchasing and to take professional advice on a dwelling’s condition prior to settlement.

Many potential homeowners take professional advice on the condition of their prospective home before they purchase it, but building surveyors do not always get it right.

Read more here.

Commercial property as an investment option? These are our Top 5 Tips

Written by Ann Maria Buckley - Senior Associate (Property)

With the increasing cost of residential property making rental returns in the short term less attractive, as well as proposed restrictions on who can buy, some investors are now looking to commercial property as an alternative.

In this article, we provide you with 5 top tips as to what you need to consider if you are looking to invest in commercial property.


The old adage of “Location, Location, Location” rings through even more so when you are looking at commercial property. You need to have a good understanding of the area in which the property is located as you need to consider the types of tenants that you might attract. 

Read more here.

Allowing for insignificant breaches of a District Plan

Written by Andrew Schulte - Partner (Resource Management)

A common cause of frustration for landowners is when effects of their activities that are insignificant require resource consent because they breach a rule in a plan to a minor degree.

The changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) on 18 October 2017 include an attempt to recognise this and give consenting authorities some discretion where an activity will only marginally or temporarily breach a rule in a plan.

In order to benefit from this change and be deemed a permitted activity, a proposed activity must:

  1. But for the marginal or temporary non-compliance, be a permitted activity;
  2. Have no adverse environmental effects that would be greater than would have been present in the absence of the activity;
  3. Have no effects on a person that are minor or greater; and
  4. Be considered by the consent authority (at its discretion) to be a permitted activity.

Read more here.

Debt recovery 101

Written by Holly Cassin - Solicitor (Litigation)

Unfortunately, debt recovery is part of running a business. The start of a new calendar year and the impending end of the financial year is as good of a time as any to undertake a debt recovery health check for your business.

Too often businesses take stock of their debtor position when it might already be too late, for example when a debtor company has receivers or liquidators appointed.  Our litigation team are not just an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, we are here to assist you early on to ensure that you have the best measures in place to protect yourself in the case of accounts not being paid.

Read more here.

House and Land packages vs. Buy and Build

Written by Nicole Burrows-Healy - Solicitor (Property).

Since the Christchurch earthquakes, the landscape of Christchurch has changed from previously built homes within established neighbourhoods to new subdivisions with new builds, it could be suggested that we are seeing this trend to accommodate for the expanding housing needs of those living within the region.

In most subdivisions, you now have the opportunity to either buy a piece of land and build on it or purchase a house and land package – but what is the difference and what key things should you 

House and land packages.

A house and land package is a pre-determined plan and plot of land which you are able to purchase for a set price. The land is usually owned by the builder and you are effectively buying the finished house from the builder directly. This process is an easy option for those that wish to buy a brand new home but don’t want to be involved in deciding all the small details. This option makes it easy for those with busy lifestyles or who need a home almost immediately to be able to obtain a new house.

Read more here.

Having trouble getting property finance? We can help you!!

Written by Mike Parker - Partner (Property).

There’s no doubting that over the last couple of years it has become harder to obtain bank funding to carry out property developments or to buy commercial investment properties.  We understand the hurdles and can help you through the process.

We have already written about the challenges borrowers are facing in the current environment and the reasons why in our article - Borrowing against commercial property - be prepared for tougher banking practices.

It seems the things we talked about then have become the new norm in the world of commercial property finance, for now at least anyway.  So, if you are looking to borrow to fund a property development or a commercial property purchase, you need to understand the hoops that you will need to jump through in order to secure that funding. 

Read more here.

Update to our Terms of Engagement

We would like to advise our clients that we have recently made a change to the Records Management section of our Terms of Engagement. 

Our firm is moving towards a digital office and as a result of this we will aim to reduce the amount of paper we use in the office, this means storing client files electronically.

You can view these changes here.


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