Written by Salina Ng - Strata Manager
Its been years in the making, but the hotly anticipated and required WA Strata Title Reforms were passed in WA Parliament this week. The reforms will support current day community living and its strata management.
Strata living accounts for more than a third of how we live in WA, the new legislation seeks to provide clarification to key strata management complaints and issues currently experienced by those living and managing strata schemes.
Delivering strata management services has become increasingly difficult when strata complaints arise as the current Act does not provide a clear framework and dispute resolution is generally slow.
The current Act, written in 1985 has desperately required reform as strata community living has grown exponentially in the last 30 years. The new legislation helps to clarify the strata management duties and responsibilities of Owners in a strata complex.
The reforms will significantly improve upon existing strata legislation in WA and its management. It will address current problems experienced in strata and bring the language currently used in the Act, into the 21st century.
The introduction of a new form of land ownership, leasehold strata title schemes will also create an opportunity for development of more liveable and diverse strata living schemes in Perth.
Another significant change is a clearer process in regards to the termination of schemes and a procedural framework and safeguards.
An excerpt from the Strata Titles Amendment Bill 2018 Second Reading Speech is below and outlines some of the key changes.
The bill, along with the Community Titles Bill 2018, will enable the delivery and effective management of innovative, well-planned strata properties throughout Western Australia.
Importantly, these reforms will bring Western Australian strata owners, residents, developers and managers a clear, modern, transparent and accountable legislative framework for creating and managing strata.
Under these reforms, strata owners will have more of a say in the ongoing management and operation of their scheme. Owners will be empowered to improve their schemes and retrofit their properties to include items such as solar panels and disability access improvements.
The provisions will facilitate better ongoing maintenance of schemes and it will be easier to enforce by-laws. Strata disputes will be resolved more quickly, cheaply and effectively through a single specialist forum. The State Administrative Tribunal will become the one stop-shop for strata disputes and will be empowered to resolve disputes quickly, cheaply and effectively.
Buyers will receive better information about the strata lots they are buying.
There will be more flexibility for the staged subdivision of strata and survey-strata schemes, and safeguards will be introduced for the termination of schemes.
Statutory duties will be imposed on strata managers to make them more accountable and to encourage higher standards of professional service. These duties include requirement to act in the best interests of the strata company, to disclose any conflicts of interest, to hold the strata company funds in a trust account and to hold a minimum standard of professional qualification.
These duties will be enforced by the strata company, which will have a statutory right to terminate the strata management contract by giving notice if the strata manager breaches the statutory duties or the contract. If that breach of duty or the contract causes the strata company to suffer a loss, the strata manager may be ordered to pay compensation to the strata company.
Strata companies will be able to keep records in electronic format to allow owners to more easily inspect those records, and strata companies will have streamlined procedures for executing documents.
Owners will be able to participate more readily in the management of their scheme, with voting able to occur outside of meetings and electronic voting permitted.
Larger schemes will need to have a reserve fund and prepare a 10-year maintenance plan.
The changes to the management of strata schemes and the duties of Strata Managers is a welcomed change, however we do feel that the legislation does not go far enough in addressing the qualifications and the licensing requirements of Strata Managers.
The next stage is the drafting of the regulations and implementation, which is expected in late 2019.
We look forward to the implementation of the new legislation in 2019 and 2020 and keeping you updated on its implementation progress.
Should you have any questions or require more information in regards to the strata legislation reforms or require assistance with your strata complex or its strata management, please contact us.
About the author
Salina Ng has been in the real estate and property industry for over 8 years. As a strata manager at Empire Estate Agents, Salina works closely with the Council of Owners, lot owners and managing agents of the strata complexes she manages in Perth. If you have a new strata development in Perth, Salina can take your strata management development from concept to registration and beyond.
Need more information or help with any other of your strata management questions? Feel free to call and speak to us. Feel free to call and speak to us at Empire Estate Agents on (08) 9262 0400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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