Strata reform to recognise lifestyle changes

| January 23, 2012

Strata living is growing in popularity and with this trend expected to continue Tim McKibbin, Chief Executive Officer of the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales believes now is an appropriate time to revisit the existing legislative framework.

We applaud the NSW Government’s decision to review and where possible simplify the existing strata laws and the healthy discussions that the Global Access Partners’ Open Forum consultation will provide.

We believe it is important to simplify the strata laws to make them easier to understand, while at the same time recognise our existing and future requirements.

We are a society that is increasingly trading the traditional quarter acre block for high quality higher density living. This cultural shift in our accommodation preferences needs to be supported by a contemporary legislative framework. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the existing strata laws be reviewed and tested to determine if they satisfy community expectations and requirements.

We have to investigate the creation of a system where development can proceed when the overwhelming majority of lot owners identify the economic/commercial advantages of renovation or development but at the same time protect and respect the individual rights of property owners.

It must be a fundamental objective to protect the rights of the owner, the purchaser and the asset. It is also important to recognise that all buildings deteriorate with time and use and will, therefore, require maintenance; accordingly, provision must be made for this maintenance.

Recognizing opportunities

We support an investigation to develop a system which responds to our modern society and culture. We support the implementation of strata laws which simplify the ability to budget for major works, or to help make the appropriate decisions for the termination of strata schemes, when appropriate.

The growth of strata living will inevitably create an increase in strata related disputes which will need to be resolved in a cost effective and expeditious manner.

The Real Estate Institute of NSW believes there should be some considerations given to a specialist tribunal. We also believe education is a critical element in ensuring that all parties understand their rights and obligations.

It is also important to recognise the opportunities technology can provide, by way of example allowing people to attend meetings without being physically present.

We encourage stakeholders to contribute to the online consultation and look forward to the outcomes and reforms which will follow. We congratulate the Minister for Fair Trading on this initiative and will review with interest the development of the legislation.

Strata Law reform questions:

Q1. What are the main areas of the existing strata and community scheme laws you would like to see changed?

Q2. Can you see any future issues that need to be addressed in the legislation?

Q3. How could the management of strata and community schemes be improved?

Q4. Are there any changes needed to the way disputes in strata and community schemes are resolved?



  1. P Townsend

    January 25, 2012 at 12:19 am

    Sinking Funds

    It is in my opinion that laws should be in place regarding the ammounts of money in sinking funds and the compulsory depositing of all funds in interest bearing deposits. Managers bully elderly and inexperienced owners with "what if this happens" or "what if that happens" and excessive ammounts of money are held without being in interest bearing accounts. So the banks in collusion with the Strata Managers are using sinking fund money free of interest. I am in favour of striking special levees for special purposes. If there is a minimum ammount of money available then the management committee or strata manager will not be able to say "Its OK there is plenty of money in the sinking fund", therefore removing temptation. There should also be a maximum ammount of money that the fund managers and committees can sign off on without contacting all owners.