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Strata reform hits another road block

17 June 2014

The new Minister for NSW Fair Trading announced the release of the strata reform Bill will be postponed due to the NSW Government’s long-term plan to deliver vital community title, strata and sector-wide reforms for the building industry in one package.

Minister Matthew Mason-Cox met with REINSW Legal Counsel Nicole Unger and Managing Director of LJ Hooker Strata Management Gary Adamson to discuss the Government’s decision to postpone the strata reform Bill and how they will proceed next.

“Community title reforms will be accelerated as part of a broader package of reforms relating to multiple occupancy of buildings, strata, security of payments and home warranty insurance connected with the building industry,” Mr Mason-Cox said.

“These reforms are interrelated and must be viewed collectively as we build on the strong reform foundations and achievements of the last three years.

“We will give stakeholders every opportunity to work with us to refine the legislative amendments and ensure our reforms are well integrated across home building, strata, community titles, home warranty and security of payment laws.”

Representatives from REINSW, Strata Community Australia and others stakeholders had previously expressed their concerns with the way the strata reform Bill was handled when it was first released in November 2013.

“We've been told that the Government intends to set up a consultancy group involving all stakeholders, rather than conduct it in the manner they have previously,” Gary Adamson said.

“There is also the consolidation of five Acts back into two, which will take some time. The current Acts do not interact with each other particularly well, so the Government intends to take a bit more time to ensure they all responsive.”

Significant issue

More than 25 per cent of the NSW population live or work in strata and community title buildings, and research shows that by 2040 more than half Sydney’s housing stock will be multi-unit dwellings.

When he released the long-awaited Position Paper last year, the former NSW Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts acknowledged that strata schemes were the most common land title system for apartment buildings in NSW.

“We are happy with the proposed consultation process, however it still depends on what the final proposed draft Bill looks like. We welcome changes to the Act provided they are beneficial to the industry, and particularly to consumers,” Mr Adamson said.

The reform package is expected to be released in the first half of 2015.