The future of strata living in New South Wales has gone on display after the government released draft copies of reformed legislation covering strata agreements in the state.
The draft Strata Schemes Development Bill 2015 and Strata Schemes Management Bill 2015 have been released for public exhibition and contain more than 90 changes to how NSW’s strata agreements are regulated.
NSW Fair Trading Minister Victor Dominello said the reforms were needed to bring the state’s legislation, which was first written in the 1960s, into line with the realities of modern day strata living, and he has called on residents to speak up about the issues they believe need to be addressed.
“The over-riding objective for all involved has been to improve strata living, minimise regulatory burden and improve democratic processes,” Dominelllo said.
“People can now have their final say on the drafting of more than 90 proposed changes to improve strata living including the perennial issues of parking, pets and passive smoking.”
Perhaps the most significant reform is allowing apartment blocks to be sold if only 75% of unit owners agree, rather than the current requirement of 100% of owners agreeing.
Other significant changes would be the requirement of developers to lodge a bond of 2% of the contracted price of the building, as a form of security to fix any defective work.
The developer would also need to prepare a maintenance schedule, to be tabled at the first annual general meeting to inform owners about their maintenance obligations.
The ability of owners to carry out renovations would also be altered with restrictions for minor, cosmetic changes to lots such as inserting a picture hook to be abolished.
The practice of “proxy farming” where one owner holds the votes of a large number of residents will also be reduced, with the reforms limiting the number of proxy votes able to be held to one proxy vote only for schemes with less than 20 lots, or 5% for schemes with more than 20 lots.
The reforms will also make it easier for those living in strata agreements to keep pets, with strata schemes to be actively encouraged to see whether they should change their by-laws to allow pets.
Smokers may not be so lucky, with passive smoke to be classified as something a tenant can raise as a hazard or nuisance caused by a fellow tenant.
The new reforms will also allow owners corporations to invite council rangers onto the property to police parking and force strata managers to declare any commissions they may receive from insurers.
The draft bills are available at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au
and submissions can be made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
until 12 August 2015.
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