The Evolution of Perth – Major Strata Reforms
A recent Infrastructure Australia report has forecast Perth’s population reaching 4.4 million by 2046, from just over 2 million presently.
Despite the subdued population growth of recent years the report has Perth overtaking Brisbane to become the 3rd largest city in Australia. Backing the State Government’s call for infill development, the report says Perth has to avoid further urban sprawl.
So where and in what type of accommodation will the extra 2 million people live?
Did you know that already 40 – 50% of all new land subdivisions in WA are strata and there are presently over 300,000 strata lots worth over $170 billion?
Whilst strata titled property is becoming the norm particularly in near city infill developments, I continue to meet Buyers whose hearts start to race through what can only be described as fear and anxiety caused by simply mentioning the word “strata”.
Is this due of a fear of the unknown, a lack of understanding of what makes up strata levies, a nightmare story at a friend’s BBQ or the fact that there have been no major reforms to the old Act in 21 years? Perhaps it’s a combination of all of the above.
Despite the lack of any real reform, the larger Perth community has begun embracing both low rise / medium density and, high rise / high density living, all of which are strata titled. Additionally many 2 and 3 lot subdivisions in existing suburbs are subdivided and strata titles created.
So with the necessity for continued rapid infill development in Perth to cope with a prolonged increase in our population, Landgate is delivering major reforms to strata legislation which we believe will be hugely beneficial to all stakeholders.
Key Elements of Strata Reforms
Two new types of strata
A new type of strata which has multiple sub-schemes within an umbrella community scheme. Each sub-scheme has a strata company. Community title is ideal for large scale developments allowing staging of the development and sharing of facilities by sub-schemes. It also facilitates mixed use in buildings and schemes.
Set for a fixed term (20 – 99 years) with a Buyer acquiring a long term lease of lot (strata lease). The Owner of the strata lease is issued with Certificate of Title and can transfer lot and strata lease as well as mortgage the lot without the lessor’s consent. Leasehold strata is used for developments at train stations and to provide affordable housing.
Improved management of schemes
- Strata Managers will be regulated
- Allow electronic notices, voting and record keeping
- Strengthen by-law enforcement
- Empower strata companies to improve common property
- Easier to install sustainable infrastructure (solar, etc)
- Strata Manager / Strata Company disputes resolved by the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT)
Simplified dispute resolution
- Currently strata disputes are heard in 4 different forums
- SAT will become one-stop shop for strata disputes
- SAT’s powers will be strengthened to resolve strata disputes quickly and cheaply
Better information for Buyers
- Buyers of strata will receive better information
- The strata information summary will be easier to read
- Electronic disclosure will be allowed
Safeguards for the termination of schemes
- Reforms will introduce safeguards for Owners
- Require a transparent process with voting to be just one part
- Termination proposal must undergo a fairness and procedure review by SAT
- Vulnerable Owners will have access to funding to respond to termination proposal
At Celsius we are always looking for ways to improve our services and our Strata Management division welcomes the strata reforms being tabled before parliament and look forward to embracing these changes as soon as they are implemented.
In our next article we will look at what makes up a strata budget and compare the costs associated with green title living versus strata titled living. In the meantime if you have any strata related questions as an Owner, Seller or Buyer please feel free to contact me anytime as I look forward to assisting however I can.
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Sources: Infrastructure Australia, Landgate