The NSW Government Strata Schemes Development Bill & The Strata Schemes Management Bill consist of 90 reforms which will change strata title requirements & processes for urban area apartment owners within the state.
Amongst the 90 reforms, Chris Johnson, CEO of Urban Taskforce draws attention to 2 critical areas:
“The move to requiring 75% support of owners to terminate a strata scheme along with a new independent assessment process for defects are the two critical reforms affecting the property industry,” highlighted Mr Johnson.
New Zealand, along with other countries, also abides by the 75% owner support requirement.
1. When it comes to the reform requiring 75% owner support to terminate a strata scheme, there are concerns these changes will add unnecessary red-tape, slowing-down the entire process. The legislation doesn’t allocate any statutory time-frames to the process’ various steps, nor estimate how long the entire process will take to complete.
2. The reform which proposes implementing a new process to resolve strata disputes relating to building defects, would go a long way in easing growing worry with the current building defects resolution process which many believe is throwing money into the law profession instead of into fixing building defects.
An independent assessment process would be perfect for managing building defects over the first 2 years of a development’s existence, but setting up an independent inspector would most likely need the co-operation of both owner and developer.
Adding this additional step would cost more time.
One way of avoiding delay would involve getting the Commissioner for Fair Trading to choose the independent assessor.
3. While the 2% bond defect cover may not be very appealing, there might be no way around it becoming part of a complete package to enhance the dispute resolution process.
The reforms must ensure the bond process is conducted efficiently, it must not become an additional expense on top of the cost of each apartment.