WA strata reforms back on the agenda

Sunday, 4th Jun 2017

After being put on the back burner for more than a year, reforms to Western Australia’s strata titling system are again in the spotlight with the newly-elected state government supporting an overhaul of the existing arrangements.

One of the biggest changes will be the introduction of community titles, which will allow multiple strata schemes to be managed individually under one umbrella management structure.

This is particularly beneficial for mixed-used precincts and buildings that feature a combination residential and commercial space, whether that be office, retail or other, as it allows more efficient management of the area.

For example, the community title will enable schemes to cover specific areas of a building or precinct. So one scheme can exist for the common areas that are used by all individuals, such as driveways and foyers, while a separate scheme can exist for an individual building, which may have a pool that not everyone can use.

Another major benefit is the ability to terminate old strata schemes. Currently, it requires 100% of landlords to agree to terminate a strata scheme but this will be dropped to 75%, which will allow for greater utilisation of sites through development.

Property buyers will also benefit from a more transparent system as sellers of strata-titled property will have to provide specific strata information prior to purchase.

There are more than 300,000 strata lots in Western Australia valued at more than $170 billion.

The strata reforms were first announced in January 2016 after a 2-year consultation period.

However the changes were put on the back burner in the lead up to the WA state election in early 2017 when the Labor party rose to power.

The reforms will be the first major shakeup of the strata legislation in 20 years and comes after significant growth in strata living with strata development making up 40-50% of current development.