Proposed strata reform fails to hit the mark: David Bannerman

Proposed strata reform fails to hit the mark: David Bannerman
Proposed strata reform fails to hit the mark: David Bannerman

GUEST OBSERVER

For people owning or looking to purchase strata property, it is paramount to be aware of the latest laws affecting strata titled property.

The New South Wales Government has released its draft bill proposing new strata laws. These propose numerous important changes, some of which are so important as to change the strata landscape and hence affect property decisions. 

In order to provide a clear understanding of the issues that are under review and subject to possible change and to clarify the impact these proposed changes could have for existing or new strata title property owners, here is a snap-shot of the key things under review. I am happy to address any or all of these in more detail for you.

The proposed strata law reform includes the following:

Collective Sale or Development – Provision is to be made for compulsory sale or redevelopment of strata buildings, even where there is a dissenting minority, by means of a strata renewal plan. There would be a broader range of options for someone owning such a property or proposing to buy one, but if you buy a strata property, it might not be your choice when you sell it.

Tenant rights - Tenants are to be given some rights, including to be given notices of meetings, attend those meetings and in some cases appoint a tenant representative.

Building defects - A number of changes have been proposed to improve the process of addressing building defect issues in new strata buildings. 

Strata Managers - Appointment terms are to be limited and entitlement to receive commission income and other benefits is to be restricted.

Caretakers - Caretakers will become known as building managers and will not be required to be a resident.

Renovations - Lot owners will be able to carry out "minor cosmetic work" without the consent of the owners corporation and potentially simpler procedures will apply for "minor renovations" where owners corporation consent will still be required.

Common property maintenance - A lot owner may be able to claim compensation from the owners corporation for failure to maintain common property, where this causes loss to the lot owner. 

By-laws - There will be greater scope for by-laws addressing issues such as unauthorised parking, smoking and occupant numbers and improved mechanisms for enforcing by-laws. 

Governance - Strata committee members will be subject to duties, but will have no liability if acting in "good faith. There will also be many changes to meetings and other procedures.

Finances - Financial reporting requirements will change and there will be changes in timing of levy payments and interest payments on arrears levies.

For property investors, owners and occupants as well as managers alike, these changes have the potential to make life better or worse, depending on how well they are understood and the submissions made in consideration of these too. I am happy ot elaborate on any aspect of the above or any strata related topic you may be covering.

 

David Bannerman is director of Bannermans Solicitors and can be contacted here 

Tags: 
Apartments Strata Law

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