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Strata reform to recognise lifestyle changes
Released 23 January 2012



Strata living is growing in popularity and with this trend expected to continue REINSW 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.

We support an investigation to develop a system that responds to our modern society and culture. We support the implementation of strata laws that 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 that will need to be resolved in a cost effective and expeditious manner.

The Real Estate Institute of New South Wales believes there should be some consideration 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. 

The Minister for Fair Trading Anthony Roberts has announced a three month online consultation on strata and community scheme issues to be hosted by public policy think tank Global Access Partners (GAP). The online consultation period will run from 15 December 2011 to 29 February 2012. Comments can be made directly online on the GAP Open Forum website at www.openforum.com.au