After years of anticipation and hard work, the amendments to the Strata Titles Act 1985 (STA), and the introduction of the Community Titles Bill have been introduced into Parliament.
The current Strata Titles Act was passed in 1985 and updates occuring in the mid 90’s therefore its a long time coming for this reform!
OVERVIEW FOR OWNERS
The changes may affect the way your complex is governed and the way some tasks are conducted moving forward.
One of the major seven focus areas was improving the way complexes are managed (and well needed in our opinion!). Electronic communication will be permitted which can have a major affect on how strata manager’s conduct business. This in conjunction with the changes to obtaining quorums, this could also change the Annual General Meetings for owners.
In relation to quorums, at the moment owners either have to attend in person or send through a proxy for the meeting. If 50% of the owners aren’t represented, then the meeting must be adjourned until the following week. Under the new proposed legislation, owners can send through their votes and proxies prior to the meeting, attend in person, phone in to the meeting, or skype in the meeting (where the facilities allow for this). After half an hour, those represented can decide that the number in attendance constitutes a quorum and the meeting proceeds as planned. This will make representation easier for owners and save the complex and owners costs from adjourning meetings.
Strata managers have not previously been acknowledged under the Strata Titles Act, with no definition or standards in place. The changes will define the role of a strata manager and put in place further defined statutory duties. The best news is that paid strata managers will have a standard level of service that they must adhere to. Currently, anyone can call themselves a strata manager! The new legislation will introduce a minimum level of knowledge, make police clearances a requirement, and ensure funds are held in trust accounts or the schemes own account.
WHAT IS A NEW TENURE?
In the past, the only form of tenure was Freehold. This was changed with the introduction of Strata Titles, and it is expected that community Titles and Leasehold Titles will again change the options of land ownership available.
This is aimed more at new developments and sub-divisions and will generally not affect current strata owners however Community Titles are very similar to Strata Titles, however it is a tiered level of ownership and is usually a very large scale. This form of tenure has been available in other states of Australia for many years and the size of these schemes is often comparable to a suburb!
Many changes are set to take place in the strata community and fortunately, the Bills were introduced into Parliament before the Parliamentary Recess, which is now in place until August. After this time, it will be debated in the Legislative Assembly before going to the Legislative Council. During this time, the team at Landgate will be preparing the Regulations in anticipation of the reforms passing.