Update on Australian strata-property reform

1 December 2016

By Kevin Zakreski

While BCLI works on its own Strata Property Law Project—Phase Two, it has been keeping abreast of developments in Australian strata-property law. Two Australian states have just made announcements on the progress of their new strata-property legislation.

In New South Wales, what has been described as a “new era” for strata properties began on 30 November 2016 with the coming into force of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 and the Strata Schemes Development Act 2015. The responsible minister’s media release heralds “more than 90 changes to the laws [affecting] 1.2 million people living in over 75,000 strata schemes across NSW,” including the following “once-in-a-generation reforms” brought in by the two new statutes:

  • Providing a flexible and fair mechanism for collective sale and renewal;
  • Making it easier for owners to complete cosmetic and minor renovations;
  • Modernising rules to help prevent proxy farming;
  • New provisions addressing the perennial issues of parking, pets and smoke drift; and
  • Introducing a defects bond (to come into effect July 2017) to fix building defects early in new developments.

The “mechanism for collective sale and renewal” is comparable to British Columbia’s recent reforms on terminating a strata. A discussion of the two sets of reforms is the subject of an earlier blog post.

NSW Fair Trading has created a dedicated webpage compiling information and resources on the reforms for strata-lot owners, tenants, and those in the strata-property industry.

Meanwhile in Western Australia, Landgate has announced that it aims to introduce a Strata Titles Amendment Bill to the Western Australia Parliament in 2017. While work drafting the bill is ongoing, Landgate “has been presenting to industry groups as part of the Strata Titles Act Reform Knowledge Campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to consult with, and share reform information with professionals who work in the strata industry and people who own a strata lot.”

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