Think HBR

Significant property title reform to impact business

Brad Gribble
Lake Group Strata
The NSW Government is undertaking significant reform that will affect two million people and impact on a range of local businesses including property developers, accountants, lawyers, strata management companies, surveyors, builders, tradespeople, valuers and real estate agents.
New legislation for both strata title and community title is currently being drafted by the Government.
Around 30 per cent of people in NSW either live or work in 75,000 strata schemes with an asset value of $350 billion. With population growth and urban consolidation continuing, within 20 years half of the state’s population is likely to live in strata or community title. Currently, 50 per cent of all development consents in NSW are for high density dwellings.
Reform is necessary and overdue. Strata title legislation is 50 years old. It is formal, complex and creates unnecessary disputes.
The 70 proposed reforms will bring the legislation into the 21st century. They cover governance, managing the built environment, budgets and levies, by-laws and managing disputes. This will help reduce disputes and assist with fixing defects in new buildings sooner.
Key changes and impacts
• Strata schemes can adopt model by-laws that suit them
• Pet friendly units will be encouraged
• Easier penalising of repeat offenders of a by-law
• Additional means to fine smokers for smoke drift
• An upper-limit rule on occupiers per bedroom
• Internet era reforms to allow emailing notices, electronic records, and attending meetings ‘virtually’
• Tenants will be able to attend Owners Corporation meetings
• Clearer, common-sense approvals for owner renovations, waiving restrictions for minor, cosmetic changes
• Proxy voting limits to curb proxy harvesting
• A developer bond, independent defects report, and a developer prepared maintenance and servicing schedule for new schemes.
• Measures to terminate strata plans to make it easier to redevelop existing buildings
The reforms are ground-breaking and an example of good, extensive consultation and policy development. Thousands of submissions were received. The reforms will, on balance, meet
the Government’s aim of providing flexibility, transparency and accountability with strong consumer protections without imposing unnecessary red tape.
The legislation was due for release earlier this year but has been delayed to ensure community title legislation is also updated at the same time as strata title legislation. Hunter business owners need to update themselves on the impacts to their businesses of the reform.
Visit or ask your industry association or a strata management specialist for information relevant to your needs.
Brad Gribble Brad Gribble

Is a Director of strata and community title manager Lake Group Strata.
Brad has 21 years property industry experience and Lake Group Strata is celebrating 20 years of operations. Lake Group Strata was a finalist in the Professional Commitment to Ethics and Service category and Strata Industry Leader of the Year category in the 2014 Strata Community Australia Awards.