Josh’s Experience with Canterbury Legal

July, 2017

What made you want to own your own home?

It’s the classic Kiwi dream to own your own home. Aside from that, it is a good investment and I’d put it down to a few main reasons from a financial stand point. Having a roof over your head is a necessity and renting is a sunken cost. Houses generally appreciate over time at a faster rate than interest rates so I gain more than I would having savings in a bank. I also have the opportunity at my age to have flatmates to help out with the mortgage payments. I expect as I get older and priorities change this won’t be an option.

What was the hardest part about buying your house?

Finding a house to tick as many boxes as possible. I searched for almost a year before finally signing on the dotted line. In this time I saved a lot more, allowing me to increase my expectations, but it was a hard graft attending open homes almost every weekend only to decide that the houses were either out of reach financially or had no potential. The whole exercise was a roller coaster of emotions

What was the most rewarding step?

Going to the auction fully prepared and coming away with the desired result. I learned a lot from the whole experience and was very pleased with the outcome. Prior to the auction I had Jim Eddy at Canterbury Legal look over the auction documents and explain the process. This was really important because once you have won an auction you don’t have the chance to change the sale and purchase agreement. You need to make sure that everything is in order beforehand.

Is there any advice that you would give to other prospective first home purchasers?

Do your research; find out what’s involved financially. Visit a huge number of houses – even if you know a house isn’t the right house it will help you understand the market. Talk to those who have done it before and attend first home buyer seminars.

Did having a lawyer assist you make a difference in your understanding of the process?

Yes. The team at Canterbury Legal guided me through the process step by step. Aside from sorting the paperwork, Jim Eddy helped me understand the requirements and the potential issues that may arise with the property purchase.

Link to First Home Buyers Guide


For enquiries please contact:


Jim Eddy, Property Lawyer

L +64 3 377 0792

M +64 21 329 381







Methamphetamine Affected Residences

July, 2017


The manufacturing and use of methamphetamine more commonly known as P or meth in residential homes has become a huge problem for New Zealand landlords and home owners. People exposed to even small amounts commonly experience rashes, headache, nausea, dizziness, fatigue and shortness of breath. The research on the long term effects of second hand meth is scarce. However, it is assumed that small doses of the drug would have the same negative effect as for users,  but on a lesser  scale.


The Standard for the testing and decontamination of Methamphetamine Contaminated Properties has just been released by Standards New Zealand. The national standard is not mandatory as it has not been included in legislation.  For the time being it can only provide “best practice” guidance .  If any litigation involving meth testing or contamination were to be considered by the Courts, it is likely that  the Standard would be highly influential .

The maximum contamination levels allowed under the new Standard have been set  in line with  standards worldwide. The maximum levels for a property to remain habitable without requiring further decontamination are as follows:

  • 1.5 microgram (µg)/100 cm3 in any high use areas;
  • 3.8 microgram (µg)/100 cm3 in any limited use areas.

A high use area is defined as an area easily accessed and regularly used by adults and children and includes living areas and bedrooms .

A limited use area is defined as an area that is likely to be accessed only by adults and for short periods of time such as crawl spaces, wall cavities and underfloor areas.

Under the Standard there must now  be a clear separation between those who test for contamination and those who are involved with its cleaning and remediation - this removes any possible conflict of interest.


Meth testing now involves a three stage process:

The first stage involves a screening assessment by a qualified NZQA tester using the appropriate testing equipment. If that assessment shows a positive result then a detailed assessment must be undertaken.

A detailed assessment is undertaken on a room by room approach by an accredited sampler who will determine the exact level of meth present.  A detailed assessment report will then be provided.

Where the assessment shows that a property is contaminated above the limits previously specified, decontamination will need to be carried out.  A further test will  be undertaken by the accredited sampler to confirm the effectiveness of the decontamination work.


This process  can result in significant expense if a property is found to be contaminated above the specified  levels.  To avoid this, anyone purchasing a property should consider a screening assessment as part of their due diligence. Ideally you should include a specific due diligence condition relating to meth testing in the agreement for sale and purchase.

A Land Information Memorandum (LIM) cannot be relied on to provide any information regarding contamination of a specific property, as the Council can only act where it has received information regarding the property. Often, that does not happen.


Landlords should also consider meth testing. Section 45 (1) (a) of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (“the Act”) states that “the landlord shall provide the premises in a reasonable state of cleanliness” and “the landlord shall comply with all requirements in respect of buildings, health and safety under any enactment so far as they apply to the premises”.  The Act creates a  presumption of  basic habitability.

To protect their investment it would be prudent for a landlord to have a screening assessment undertaken whenever there is a change of tenants. A negative test at the start of a tenancy and a positive test at the end will help place liability on the tenant. A lack of baseline testing would make it very hard to prove the liability of the tenants. The use of tenancy agreements that will allow for the testing of meth during a tenancy is also highly recommended.

Unit Titled Property? Body Corporate Rules?

July, 2016

You own a unit titled property on the ground floor. The tree in your back yard has grown so tall that it blocks the sun to your neighbour’s apartment on the first floor. Your neighbour complains to the Body Corporate Committee who then gives you written notice to remove the tree. Can the body corporate committee do that?

As an owner, you are a part of the body corporate so you can have a say. How will you challenge this?

At Canterbury Legal, we can help you interpret the Body Corporate Rules and let you know your rights and responsibilities. For Body Corporate Committees we offer advice on body corporate governance and proper procedures so as to avoid expensive litigation. For individual unit titled property owners, we can represent you in the event that a there is a decision that adversely affects you.

Please contact Grant Smith, Eric Lee or Jim Eddy at Canterbury Legal for all questions regarding unit titles.

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