The much-anticipated Strata Titles Act 1985, also known as the strata reforms, will come into effect as of Friday 1 May.
REIWA strongly supports the new legislation and worked closely with Landgate and the WA Government to ensure that the real estate industries concerns were taken into consideration.
The reforms will bring strata communities into the 21st century and is expected to not only accommodate the shift in housing preferences over the years, but also introduce new land development to options to drive economic growth.
A breakdown of the changes is listed below. For a detailed understanding of each item, view Landgate’s summary of what’s changing.
Better buyer information
For those who are looking to buy into a strata property, agents will be required from the 1 May 2020 who provide buyers with more information using a single form which includes including:
- Estimated strata levy contributions over a 12-month period.
- The most recent statement of accounts of the strata scheme.
- Any amount already owed to the strata company by the current lot owner.
- The minutes from the most recent annual general meeting of the strata company or any extraordinary general meeting that’s been held since.
- A full set of the scheme’s by-laws.
- Information about any termination proposal received by the strata company.
More efficient dispute resolution
As of 1 May 2020, all new disputes will be heard in the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT), existing disputes will continue in the original forum.
The SAT will have broader powers to resolve strata scheme disputes and enforce by-laws.
The only exception to SAT’s role as the ‘one-stop-shop’ for strata disputes is the recovery of unpaid levies which are still to go through the civil courts.
A fairer process for scheme termination
The terminations process has been amended to allow for majority approvals in some schemes.
For schemes of four lots or less the decision to terminate must be unanimous for the termination to proceed.
For schemes of five lots or more, a comprehensive series of safeguards are now in place including an independent review by the SAT if there are any dissenting owners.
The new process also includes a more streamlined approach for when all lot owners agree about terminating the scheme.
Improving strata management
Starting on Friday 1 May 2020, amendments to the following sections will be in effect in order to improve strata management and by-laws:
- Changes to by-laws.
- Ten-year maintenance plan.
- Embracing modern technology.
- The role of the strata manager.
Introducing leasehold strata
A leasehold strata title is a built strata or survey-strata scheme with a fixed term of between 20 and 99 years. As of 1 May 2020, plans for leasehold strata schemes can be lodged with Landgate.
In leasehold scheme each lot has a lease of between 20 and 99 years, with all lots ending on the same day. This will be utilised to provide affordable housing in strategic sites such as round train stations.
Greater flexibility for staged subdivisions
The reformed Act makes it clear when the consent of owners is required to change the way a scheme is being developed. On 1 May 2020, schemes will no longer require a management statement.
Details of staged development will now be set out in the scheme by-laws and are called staged subdivision by-laws. The changes ensure the rights of lot owners who have already bought into earlier stages of the scheme are protected, while making the process less cumbersome for developers.
For more information visit www.strata.wa.gov.au.
To read more about REIWA’s advocacy efforts, view our advocacy page.