Spotlight on Western Australia: Reforms coming to strata properties
21 April 2016
By Kevin Zakreski
This month marks a significant development in a major project to reform strata-property law in Western Australia.
Landgate, an agency similar to British Columbia’s Land Title and Survey Authority, has been carrying out a project to reform Western Australia’s Strata Titles Act 1985 (PDF) since September 2013. A consultation paper (PDF) for the project was published in October 2014, opening a public-consultation period that lasted until January 2015.
Since that time, Landgate had been refining its proposals and carrying out further consultation and research. Landgate has now received approval from the state cabinet for Western Australia “to draft the proposed amendments to the Strata Titles Act 1985 following their consideration of Landgate’s recommended reforms.” The draft legislation will be based on concepts found in Landgate’s Approved Reforms Statement (PDF).
The areas of reform that will be addressed are:
- new type of strata: community title schemes: allowing for “multiple strata titled schemes on one land parcel or in one building, under an overarching (or umbrella) body corporate” (or strata corporation, to use BC’s term);
- new type of strata: leasehold strata: the equivalent to leasehold strata plans under part 12 of BC’s Strata Property Act;
- improved management: clarifying “the roles of strata companies, strata councils and strata managers whilst specifically allowing for the use of technology in meetings and voting” and improving “financial management”;
- clearer and easier ways to resolve strata disputes: enhancing the jurisdiction and powers of the State Administrative Tribunal for Western Australia, and streamlining its procedures for strata disputes;
- better buyer information: improving forms and increasing disclosure to strata buyers;
- staged strata development: the equivalent to phased strata plans under part 13 of the Strata Property Act;
- termination of schemes: the equivalent to cancelling a strata plan and winding up a strata corporation under part 16 of the Strata Property Act.
Many of Landgate’s areas of reform touch on issues that are being considered in British Columbia, by BCLI and by other groups. Future posts will go into more detail on how Western Australia’s reforms compare with British Columbia’s.