Changes under the Land Transfer Act 2017

Written by Lauren Jerard - Solicitor (Property)

The updated Land Transfer Act 2017 (LTA) came into force on 12 November 2018. The LTA consolidates, modernises and replaces the Land Transfer Act 1952, Land Transfer Amendment Act 1963 and Land Transfer (Computer Register and Electronic Lodgement) Amendment Act 2002, and forms the new statutory framework for land the transfer system in New Zealand.

A few of the key changes have been summarised below:


A key change is a change in terminology:

Record of title
This term replaces the old “certificate of title” or “computer register” and is now used for all freehold, leasehold, stratum & other estates.

Registered owner
This replaces the old “registered proprietor” term and is a stylistic change only.  It doesn’t alter the rights or legal status of a registered landowner.

Burdened and benefitted land
These terms replace the old “servient tenement” and “dominant tenement”.  The benefited land is the land that receives the benefit of the easement and/or covenant and the burdened land is the land over which the easement or covenant is created.

Land covenants

Previously, an easement instrument was used to register land covenants, as well as easements. The LTA now allows a land covenant to be registered on its own and separate from an easement instrument.

Previously, land covenants could only be registered over titles for burdened and benefited land. However, the LTA now allows for covenants “in gross” (that is, a covenant that is in favour of another person, rather than being in favour of land) to be registered on the title in the same way that easements in gross currently are. Covenants in gross are likely to become the preferred choice of registration, rather than encumbrances, to record private contract arrangements in some cases.

Guaranteed searches

It is standard practice for property lawyers to obtain a guaranteed search of a record of title prior to completing a client’s property purchase. A guaranteed search provides extra security for the purchaser under the land transfer system. It allows for the purchaser to be compensated by the Crown if their interest in acquiring the land is defeated due to a competing interest (such as someone illegally registering a transfer of the land to a different owner).

To reflect the electronic nature of land transactions nowadays, the LTA updates the timeframes within which compensation can be claimed.  Under the old Act, to be able to claim compensation, the purchaser, through their solicitor, was required to obtain a guaranteed search of the record of title within 14 days of settlement and to lodge the transfer and/or mortgage for registration within two months of settlement. The LTA has reduced the timeframe for the guaranteed search to be obtained within 5 working days of settlement and the period for lodgement to 20 working days after settlement.

There are, of course, many other changes to the LTA.  If you have questions about the changes mentioned in this article, or any others under the new legislation then one of our friendly property team would be more than happy to talk them over with you.

Changes to residential tenancy rules are on the horizon

Written by Louse Maginness – Registered Legal Executive (Property)

With the introduction of new statutes and amendments such as the Land Transfer Act 2017, land law in New Zealand is currently in a state of change. In regards to the management of residential property, Parliament is currently considering a number of amendments that would place increased obligations at the feet of landlords which would-be property investors may wish to consider.

With the proposed changes will come more responsibility for landlords.  This may mean that landlords will look to use a professional property manager rather than managing the rental themselves.

We note the new changes below:

Residential Tenancies (Prohibiting Letting Fees) Amendment Act: coming into force 12 December 2018.

This recently passed Act will ban letting fees being charged by a letting agent or solicitor from being directly passed onto the tenant. Landlords will instead incur a ‘tenancy fee’ themselves, and we suspect this fee will end up being passed on to tenants via increased rental.

Healthy Homes Guarantee Act 2017: coming into force 1 July 2019.

This includes increasing the following standards in a rental home:

  • Insulation
  • Heating
  • Ventilation
  • Moisture ingress
  • Draught stopping

Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill (No 2) – this is currently awaiting its second reading, but proposes changes to:

  • Limiting tenant’s liability for damage to the lower of 4 weeks rent or the amount of the landlord’s insurance excess.
  • New rules around contaminated premises.
  • New rules around unlawful residential tenancies.

Other possible changes proposed by government

  • Removing the ability to terminate periodic tenancies without cause.
  • Increasing the minimum length of fixed term tenancies.
  • Relaxing the rules around how tenants are able to make minor modifications to the property.
  • Relaxing the rules around whether tenants are allowed to keep pets.
  • Prohibiting rental bidding.
  • Limiting the frequency of rent reviews to once a year, as opposed to bi-yearly.

While these proposals may occur in the future, it is important to turn our heads towards these changes now in order to properly prepare for their potential arrival. This will make for a more comfortable transition for our landlord clients should they choose to inherit this increased responsibility.

All the best for a wonderful festive season!

This will be our last newsletter for 2018.  We are taking a break next month to concentrate on completing our Christmas settlements for our clients. Our offices will be closing at 5pm on Friday 21 December and will reopen on Monday 7 January.  If you are busy signing up agreements during the Christmas/New Year break, please remember when counting relevant dates, that ‘working days’ do not include the period between 24 December and 5 January inclusive.  So the first ‘working day’ of 2019 will be Monday 7 January.

Thank you for the fantastic support and feedback we have received in relation to our newsletter.  We are always interested to hear from you, and want our newsletter to be useful and informative to you.  If you have any suggested topics you would like us to write about, or any other queries you would just like some advice on, please feel free to email them to us any time.

Have a safe and happy Christmas.

Mike Parker

+64 3 339 5645

Partner - Property

Phone: +64 3 339 5645

Mobile: +64 21 226 2630


Lauren Jerard

Solicitor - Property

Phone: +64 3 339 5662


Louise Maginness

Registered Legal Executive - Property

Phone: +64 3 339 5643

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