Strata Laws Passed

Both the State Government's Strata Titles Amendment Bill 2018 (STA Bill) and the Community Titles Bill 2018 have passed through Parliament, marking the first major change to the legislation in 20 years. 

The bills which reform the way Western Australian strata schemes are developed and managed, bring Western Australia’s strata titles legislation in to line with other Australian jurisdictions. 

Shelter WA supported the reforms since the Labor Government first announced its decision in May 2017 but wanted to ensure that the termination of schemes was done in a fair and equitable manner. It advocated for the concept of introducing adequate safeguards for the termination of schemes, including a transparent process, safeguard for owners and a full procedural and fairness review by the State Administrative Tribunal.

With Landgate the statutory authority responsible for the administration of the Act, Shelter WA hosted a key stakeholder briefing with Landgate experts working on the reform. The briefing gave an opportunity to pose key questions.

“Shelter WA would like to congratulate the parliament on passing these reforms. They lay the foundation for better utilisation of land and the delivery of more diverse and affordable housing supply,” said Michelle Mackenzie, CEO of Shelter WA.

The Strata Titles Amendment Bill 2018 (STA Bill) and the Community Titles Bill 2018 include the introduction of two new forms of strata, leasehold schemes and community title schemes. 

Community Schemes are a new option for subdividing a single parcel of freehold land into multiple community titles schemes that together are called a community scheme. 

Leasehold schemes are a new type of strata. A leasehold scheme is essentially a strata / survey-strata scheme that is set up for a fixed term of 20 to 99 years.

The owner of a lot in a leasehold scheme has a long-term lease of a lot (a strata lease). Leasehold schemes give the freehold land owner an opportunity to develop land which they otherwise wouldn’t or couldn’t develop. This is of benefit to organisations including government, churches and universities who want to retain ownership of their land but are willing to make it available for development.

Leasehold schemes also offer an alternative form of tenure for retirement villages. Crown land can be converted to freehold land and transferred to a State agency (e.g. Housing Authority). The State agency can then strata title that land with a leasehold scheme and sell the lots. The leasehold scheme and strata leases in the station precinct will end on the expiry day (which might be after 99 years) – at that point the land and buildings revert to the State agency.

With many strata scheme buildings ageing the termination and redevelopment of a strata schemes is becoming increasingly common. To protect the assets held by all strata owners, safeguards regarding the termination of schemes are included in the Bills.

Landgate will now complete the regulations and will continue to consult with the public, government, industry and community stakeholders.

For more information on Strata Reform click here.

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