strata reforms

Western Australia’s new Strata Titles Amendment Bill 2018 and the Community Titles Act 2018 will make redevelopment of ageing apartment buildings easier, according to the Property Council of Australia WA.

“The Property Council has been a strong and vocal advocate of reform of WA’s strata legislation since the review commenced in 2007. We held our first strata reform workshop for members in 2008 and have been fully engaged in the process ever since,” Property Council of Australia WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer said.

“The Property Council is delighted that the Strata Titles Amendment Bill 2018 has been passed by the Parliament of Western Australia this week. We understand the Community Titles Bill 2018 should follow next week. We congratulate the McGowan Labor Government and all Members of Parliament for progressing this critical reform initiative so swiftly through the legislative process since it was introduced earlier this year.”

“Modernisation and streamlining of strata titles law and introduction of community titles and leasehold tenure have been a key priority for Property Council members for many years, and it is terrific to see the strata titles law finally adopted,” Ms Brewer said.

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“As the industry responsible for delivering communities of the future, we warmly welcome the new Strata Titles Act. This law will improve the way WA strata schemes are developed and managed, and along with the Community Titles legislation will provide for development of new and innovative housing options and greater housing choice,” she said.

“The Property Council has long advocated for an approach to land tenure and strata management that better meets the needs of residents and property owners and that can facilitate great development outcomes.”

In recent months the legislation has risked being derailed by a perception in some quarters that new termination provisions will undermine property rights of existing strata owners.

“The Property Council has worked hard to address this assertion by demonstrating to community stakeholders, Members of Parliament and the Legislative Committee that the Bills were drafted to provide a far more transparent, legible and equitable process for termination of a strata scheme than currently exists,” Ms Brewer said.

“In fact, allowing 80 per cent of the owners of a strata scheme the right to vote for dissolution of a scheme, with the matter then determined by SAT, provides 80 per cent of owners with rights they currently don’t have,” Ms Brewer said.

“It is our view that the new laws, with the enhanced safeguards included through the Parliamentary process, provide an equitable and reasonable approach that delivers natural justice for all parties. Creating an effective and fair termination process is critical to allowing redevelopment of many ageing strata properties across WA,” said Ms Brewer.

The successful implementation of strata reform will have broad community benefits as government and industry will be able to deliver greater housing diversity, affordability and choice, and make more efficient use of land and services to provide better living options for Western Australians.

Said Ms Brewer, “In combination with the State Government’s new urban design policies and planning reform initiatives, the new strata law will allow redevelopment of strategic and well-located housing sites and replacement of the current ageing buildings with modern, well-designed homes that are sensitive to the environment and to the feel of the streetscape and the local neighbourhood. This will benefit residents and the wider community and we are delighted that the legislation has now been adopted”.

Property Council of Australia WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer said, “The Property Council now calls on Government to quickly draft the supporting regulations and adequately resource Landgate and the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage so that the full potential of the new laws can quickly be realised.”

The laws will come into effect in late 2019. Visit the Landgate website to read more about the bills.

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