Property editor of the NZ Herald

Rise in body corporate charges angers apartment block resident

A Takapuna apartment block resident is complaining of rising annual charges. Photo / File
A Takapuna apartment block resident is complaining of rising annual charges. Photo / File

A Takapuna apartment block resident has complained of annual charges almost doubling in four years, from $305,000 to $560,000.

Paul Venier, of the three-building purpose-built 134-unit Shoalhaven on the corner of Anzac Ave and Fred Thomas Drive, said such big cost increases were unacceptable.

But Sharron O'Sullivan of body corporate administrator About Body Corporates said the rises were justifiable.

Charges were initially low but that was because only one of three buildings was finished, she said.

Annual charges increased from $305,180 to $559,156, an 83 per cent rise, she said. The average annual levy was $4800 per apartment.

"We've been at that property since the start and there's a fundamental lack of understanding and apathy about the body corporate and we're left to maintain it with a couple of owners and the property manager," O'Sullivan said.

"Our gross costs have gone up from $305,000 to $570,000, which amounts to an increase of 87 per cent over four years," Venier said.

"Administration fees have increased by 22.9 per cent over the same period. The building manager's salary has increased by 37.4 per cent and common area costs have risen by 103 per cent over the same period."

O'Sullivan said insurance was $39,630.49 four years ago when the development was incomplete but it rose to $72,108.06 when it was finished and because of earthquake levies.

Electricity was estimated initially to cost $21,000 but cost $28,555 and had risen to $34,000. Water increased from $13,109.31 in the first year to $25,316.87.

The long-term maintenance amount in the first year was too little at $16,000. "The body corporate had a professional company do a long-term maintenance plan and based on projections, increased to $60,000 then $100,000 until this current period where they have put away $110,000."

The building manager's salary increased from $44,000, plus GST, in the first year of to the next year's $55,000, plus GST, which was justified because of the service provided, O'Sullivan said.

Repairs and maintenance rose from $2500 to $10,000 as items were initially under warranty but then owners had to pay costs.

"It is about maintaining your asset so when you come to sell you are not selling a liability," she said. "We know from talking to agents if you don't have a healthy long-term maintenance fund, it's a turn-off for purchasers."

LIVING COSTS Annual fees, Shoalhaven, Takapuna:

* 2011-2012: $559,156.69
* 2010-2011: $499,013.47
* 2009- 2010: $441,352.39
* 2008-2009: $369,401.54
* 2007-2008: $305,180.33

Source: About Body Corporates

- NZ Herald

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