The 10 changes to know from NSW's strata reform paper

The 10 changes to know from NSW's strata reform paper
The 10 changes to know from NSW's strata reform paper

A NSW government position paper has outlined 58 changes for those living in community schemes.

NSW Fair Trading Minister, Matthew Mason-Cox, said that more than 25% of the state’s population lives or works in strata and community schemes and by 2040 more than half of Sydney’s housing stock will be multi-unit type dwellings.

“Community schemes range from highrise buildings to rural subdivisions with irrigation channels as association property, as well as large closed communities with private roads, high security and extensive recreational facilities such as marinas and golf courses,” said Mason-Cox.

“The position paper sets out a coherent and informed approach to meet the future needs of residents living in nearly 2200 community, neighbourhood and precinct schemes operating around the state.

“At the very heart of the package are measures that seek to better protect residents with a focus on ensuring transparency and accountability in decision-making.”

This will provide a framework for community schemes going forward, removing the “onerous requirement” for all owners to agree unanimously on decisions relating to their property.

“Special resolutions will be sufficient where a significant majority of owners are in agreement,” he said.

More than 2,000 submissions and 1,200 online comments were made on the 2012 discussion paper.

“Community scheme law reforms will be delivered as part of a package of building industry reforms concerning the multiple occupancy of buildings, strata, security of payments and home warranty insurance,” Mason-Cox said.

The next step will be to draft the Community Scheme Bills, before consultation on the draft legislation in 2015.

Here is a selection about 10 of the crucial changes:

  1. Meetings can be attended in various forms, including social media, video and teleconferencing

  2. Committee members will be required to “act with due care and diligence” and disclose any potential conflicts of interest

  3. A limit will be put on the number of proxies able to be held by any person, and limit the matters in which a priority vote can be used

  4. Stop non-owners with a financial interest in the scheme from being a member of the strata/community committee (this would prohibit managing agents and letting agents)

  5. A requirement for developers to set “realistic” levies, during the initial period and first year after

  6. Disclosure and accountability for managing agents, with a contract term of three years minimum

  7. Restriction of developers’ rights to vote on matters relating to building defects

  8. Expansion on the issues that can be dealt with at NCAT

  9. Better ways to improve parking within schemes

  10. A requirement for meetings to be called to authorise certain matters identified in a development contract as “development concerns” (Community title specific)

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke was a property writer at Property Observer

New South Wales

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