Strata reform seen as good news for property industry
THE State Government’s commitment to reform strata title legislation has been welcomed by the property industry.
Announced last week by Lands Minister Rita Saffioti, the proposed reforms were drafted by Landgate and will address seven areas: community title schemes, leasehold strata, more flexible staged strata development, improved management, simplified dispute resolution, better buyer information and safeguards for the termination of schemes.
Ms Saffioti said the reforms were important to the future housing needs of WA and the State Government would be progressing the legislation as quickly as possible.
The reforms are expected to facilitate mixed-use developments and the introduction of leasehold strata and community title schemes, and improve strata schemes to make it easier to develop land next to Metronet lines and above train stations.
“By providing new strata development options, these reforms will help create vibrant communities close to public transport, infrastructure, facilities and workplaces,” Ms Saffioti said.
The legislation would also provide better protection for strata owners through the regulation of strata managers, better buyer information, and being able to quickly and easily resolve strata disputes through the State Administrative Tribunal.
WA has more than 300,000 strata lots and the number is increasing, with 40 to 50 per cent of all new land subdivisions being for strata lots. However, there has been no major reforms to the Strata Titles Act 1985 in 20 years.
REIWA president Hayden Groves said the reforms were long overdue and was pleased they would be implemented.
“REIWA is committed to the strata title reform process and we are supportive of more buyer information being disclosed and making sure buyers know what they are getting into,” he said.
Strata Community Association president Scott Bellerby said the drafted reforms were desperately needed and would help provide more flexible and sustainable housing options.
“The current reforms are a good first step to helping define the role of the strata manager and will provide improved management of schemes, however further regulation and licensing is still needed,” he said.
“The minister should commit to the formation of a working group after the current reforms are passed to deliver a licensing platform for the State Government to adopt early next year.”
Housing Industry Association executive director John Gelavis said the reforms would enable greater housing choice throughout Perth’s suburbs.
“Housing choice is critical for affordable housing and changes to this legislation should ultimately provide more options for consumers,” he said.
“It should positively contribute towards meeting our density targets by making it easier for mixeduse developments to be titled.”
Shelter WA spokesman Stephen Hall said the reforms would enable greater flexibility of land use, which would assist with providing a good supply of diverse and affordable housing.
“These reforms will support transit-oriented development, along and close to transport routes, which Shelter WA has supported for many years,” he said.
“Through these changes, there is an opportunity to provide more diverse and affordable housing that meets the need of a changing population.”
Property Council executive director Lino Iacomella said the introduction of community titles in particular would make a real difference by encouraging more mixed-use development in and around activity centres and retirement villages, offering greater amenity to residents and more sustainable local economies.
“These reforms will also provide better outcomes for communities, improving housing choice and affordability for all West Australians,” he said.
The Urban Development Institute WA also strongly supported the reforms, particularly the introduction of community title schemes, leasehold strata and staged strata development.
“The reforms will bring WA’S strata titles legislation into line with other Australian jurisdictions and result in more affordable and diverse housing,” chief executive Allison Hailles said.
REIWA president Hayden Groves.
Housing Industry Association’s John Gelavis.