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All about the reform

The WA State Government has given Landgate responsibility for delivering strata reforms to Western Australia.

The strata reforms aim to make strata better and provide more flexible and sustainable housing options to benefit strata owners, residents, tenants, investors and developers.

All strata properties registered as Strata Titles at Landgate are subject to the Strata Titles Act 1985 (the Act) and will all be subject to changes when the Strata Titles Amendment Act 2018 comes into operation by proclamation.

Watch the presentation below for an overview of the proposed strata reforms.

Strata reform video transcript

Landgate is delivering major reforms to strata legislation. Landgate is delivering the strata reforms because there have been no major reforms to strata legislation in 21 years. How we use and develop strata has rapidly evolved over that time. The old Strata Titles Act is causing problems for people living and working in strata.

The strata reforms will improve the way things are done in strata by making strata better for owners and residents and introducing new land development options to drive economic growth. Strata reform will deliver major benefits for owners and residents in strata. Strata managers will be regulated and made accountable.

There will be a one stop shop for strata disputes. Strata schemes will be easier to manage and buyers of strata will get better strata information.

Strata reform will deliver major benefits to WA by introducing new development options that drive economic growth for the State. Community title will help to deliver smart density with amenity and better mixed use in Metrohub precincts.

Community title, leasehold strata and improved strata schemes will enable integrated land development along the transport corridors of Metronet and above train stations. Affordable housing can be provided with leasehold strata.

The key elements of the strata reforms are two new types of strata: Community title and Leasehold strata:

  • More flexible staged subdivision
  • Improved management of schemes
  • Simplified dispute resolution
  • Better information for strata buyers and
  • Safeguards for the termination of schemes.

Community title is a new type of strata which has multiple sub-schemes within an umbrella community scheme. Each sub-scheme has its own strata company. So why is Landgate introducing community title schemes to WA?

Other States and countries have community title schemes. Landgate investigated how community title is operating in those other States and we discovered the following.

  • Community title is ideal for large scale development
  • Breakfast Point is a community scheme in Sydney
  • It has 2500 lots contained in 50 sub-schemes spread across 52 hectares
  • The development began in 1999 and is still going and over $570 million has been invested so far.

Such developments take time and need flexible staging. More facilities can be shared by sub-schemes in a community title scheme. Community title supports mixed use in buildings and schemes and community title attracts major investment to generate economic growth.

Leasehold strata is a strata scheme set up for a fixed period of 20 to 99 years. The buyer acquires a long term lease of the lot, the strata lease. The owner of the strata lease is issued with a certificate of title.

The owner of the strata lease can transfer the lot and the strata lease and can also mortgage the lot all without needing the consent of the lessor. Leasehold strata is used in other parts of the World for development of train stations and to provide affordable housing.

The reforms will make staged development of strata schemes more flexible. It’s difficult to vary a staged scheme development now under the Act. The reforms will allow more flexibility in how staged schemes are developed. This will cut red tape and allow faster development of staged schemes.

Strata reform will improve the management of schemes by

  • allowing electronic notices, voting and record keeping
  • by strengthening by-law enforcement
  • empowering strata companies to improve common property and
  • making it easier to install sustainable infrastructure such as solar panels

Strata managers will be regulated. The reforms will impose comprehensive statutory duties on strata managers. For example strata managers will have to

Act in the best interests of the strata company

  • Inform the strata company of a conflict of interest or commission
  • Hold the strata company funds in a trust account and
  • Have educational qualifications and professional indemnity insurance coverage.

The strata company may terminate the strata manager’s contract if the contract or statutory duties are breached. Disputes between the strata manager and the strata company can be resolved by the State Administrative Tribunal.

The strata reforms will simplify strata dispute resolution. Currently strata disputes are heard in 4 different forums which include 3 Courts and 1 Tribunal. Research has proven that the State Administrative Tribunal or SAT is very effective in resolving strata disputes.

SAT will become the one-stop shop for strata disputes. The reforms will strengthen SAT’s powers to resolve strata disputes quickly and cheaply.

Reforms to termination will introduce safeguards for owners require a transparent process be properly followed the vote is only one part of that process even if the required vote is reached the termination proposal must undergo a fairness and procedure review by SAT. Vulnerable owners will have access to funding to respond to the termination proposal.  Buyers of strata will receive better information. The strata information summary will be easier to read and electronic disclosure will be allowed.

Strata is very important to the WA economy. WA has over 300,000 strata lots which are worth over $170 billion. Strata is becoming more popular 40 to 50 percent of all new land subdivisions in WA are strata.Strata is more than just apartment housing, it is also used for commercial, retail and industrial premises.

More information on the strata reforms is detailed on Landgate’s website.

Keep up to date

Want to be kept up to date with how the reform journey is going? Subscribe to the strata reform updates newsletter at the bottom of the page. As a subscriber to the strata reform emails you will be advised when updated information is available and be one of the first to receive news about the strata reforms.

Latest news update - 28 November 2018

The most significant changes to strata in over 20 years have been confirmed following the passage of the Strata Titles Amendment Bill 2018 (STA Bill) and the Community Titles Bill 2018 (CT Bill) on 1 November 2018 and 6 November 2018 respectively. The STA Bill and the CT Bill assented to Acts of Parliament on 19 November 2018.

Landgate’s focus now turns to completing the regulations to support the new Acts. Landgate will continue consulting with the public, government, industry and community stakeholders as those regulations are drafted.

Both Acts will come into operation on proclamation. A proclamation is a public announcement with statutory authority published in the Government Gazette and made by the Governor in Executive Council.

When will the Strata Titles Amendment Act 2018 come into operation?

Proclamation of the Strata Titles Amendment Act 2018 will occur after the regulations to support the amended Strata Titles Act 1985 have been drafted. The aim is for the Strata Titles Amendment Act 2018 to come into operation in the third quarter of 2019, though this timing is subject to completing the regulations.

When will the Community Titles Act 2018 come into operation?

Proclamation of the Community Titles Act 2018 will occur after the regulations to support the Community Titles Act 2018 have been drafted. The aim is for the Community Titles Act 2018 to come into operation in the first quarter of 2020, though this timing is subject to completing the regulations.

Seven areas of reform

There are seven areas of reform which will be delivered through the Strata Titles Amendment Act 2018 and the Community Titles Act 2018.

Read all of the details here:

Reasons for reform

Based on current trends, it is predicted that Western Australia’s population will increase to more than five million by 2056.

There is a need for more housing to cater for the predicted population increase including more innovative housing options, while also meeting urban infill targets. Strata is important to the WA economy; there are more than 300,000 strata lots, which are conservatively estimated as being worth $170 billion. This number is increasing, with 40 to 50 per cent of all new lots created being strata. Annual sales of strata lots exceed $10.9 billion.

Strata titles are not just about residential properties, they include retail, commercial and industrial business premises. A more robust and updated legislative framework is needed to support strata schemes in WA.

Landgate has been asked to deliver strata reforms that will bring Western Australian strata owners, residents, developers and managers, a clear, modern, transparent and accountable legislative framework for creating and managing strata.

There has been no major reform to WA's strata legislation in more than 20 years.

Benefits to the WA economy

The reforms will deliver new land development options to help drive economic growth.

Community title, leasehold strata and the improved strata schemes can all be used to fully develop station precints where people work, live and play close to public transport, supporting the development of METRONET and station precincts.

Leasehold schemes provides affordable housing in other parts of the world and can do so here in WA.

Staged strata subdivision will enable existing strata schemes which are subdivided in stages to be delivered faster and cheaper by providing greater flexibility to vary those schemes and by cutting some of the red-tape faced by developers when consent to plan variations are required.

Having more development options and streamlining the approval process has led to rapid economic growth in other states.

Strata reform journey

These steps have been completed:
  • development of reform concepts
  • Consultation with the public
  • consultation with industry and strata experts
  • reform recommendations approved by government drafting of the legislation
  • introduction into Parliament on 28 June 2018
  • passage of the Strata Titles Amendment Bill 2018 and Community Titles Bill 2018 (the Bills) through Parliament (1 and 6 November 2018)
  • assent of the Bills to make them Acts of Parliament (19 November 2018)
These steps are still to be achieved:
  • drafting of the Regulations that will support the new legislation
  • proclamation and implementing the Acts.

What people are saying about the reforms

Allison Hailes,  Chief Executive Officer,  Urban Development Institute of Australia (WA) Inc.

With affordability, sustainability and greater densities high on the agenda for both government and the community, these strata reforms are essential to delivering these outcomes.

Scott Bellerby, President, Strata Community Australia (WA)

Most of us know someone who has had a bad experience in a strata property due to a dispute, whether it be noise, parking, or incorrect use of common areas. In community living, there will also be disputes from time to time and it’s therefore imperative that these disputes can be addressed and resolved in a practical manner, which is not currently the case. The proposed reforms are set to address this.

John Wynne, National Planning Director, Urbis

Urbis is delighted that the WA Government has committed to further reforms to Strata laws.  Urban areas everywhere are becoming more complex and mixed in character, so titling laws need to evolve to reflect this. These changes will facilitate the next generation of development, where public transport, retail, commercial, residential and short stay accommodation may be integrated.

Feedback and enquiries

Send your feedback and enquiries about the strata reforms to: StrataTitlesActReform@landgate.wa.gov.au

Subscribe to the strata reform updates newsletter to receive the latest news on how the reform journey is going.

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Disclaimer

This information has been prepared for the purposes of informing stakeholders and the community on the nature and scope of the proposed reforms to the legislation relating to strata title. Every effort has been made to ensure the information presented is accurate at the time of publication. Because this information avoids the use of legal language, information about the law may have been summarised or expressed in general statements. This information should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional legal advice or reference to the actual or proposed legislation. The contents should not be relied on as a guide for current or future legislation relating to strata title or community title in Western Australia or in relation to current or future subdivision or development proposals, commercial transactions or dealings in strata title.

This page was last updated on: 28 Nov 2018