On October 10, 2023, the Strata Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 was introduced for consideration. This legislation encompasses several proposed changes to various acts; including the Strata Schemes Development Act 2015, Strata Schemes Management Act 2015, the Community Land Management Act 2021, and the Community and Development Act 2021. The bill may go through further modifications during its passage to the Legislative Council and Assembly, the amendments it proposes have previously been examined in a Statutory Review of the Strata Legislation. Consequently, significant alterations are not anticipated.
Strata Schemes Management Act 2015
Strata Managers: One key proposal involves imposing a new obligation on managing agents to notify their Owners Corporation regarding the conclusion of their term of appointment, ensuring that owners' corporations have ample notice regarding changes in management.
Original Owner: The bill seeks to extend the time frame within which the original owner must provide specified documents before the first annual general meeting, shifting it from the current 48 hours to 14 days. This change is intended to provide more flexibility for the original owner and allow for better preparation.
Strata Committees: In this section, the bill introduces changes that clarify that committees can be appointed outside of an Annual General Meeting (AGM), streamlining the committee appointment process. It also adjusts the threshold for removing a committee member from a special resolution to an ordinary resolution, accompanied by a 12-month ban on their re-appointment.
AGMs: The notice period for Annual General Meetings is proposed to increase from the current 7 days to 14 days, providing additional time for preparation and participation.
Levies: The bill brings significant alterations in this domain, including a change that allows the Owners Corporation to determine, within a 3-month period, whether funds from the capital works fund should be reimbursed when used for administrative fund expenses or vice versa. This change introduces discretion that was previously lacking. Furthermore, the notice time for levies related to urgent works is reduced from 30 days to 14 days, specifically addressing cases of serious or imminent threats to health and safety.
Multiple Quotes: The bill proposes extending the requirement for obtaining two quotes, which was formerly applied only to large strata schemes, to all strata schemes. This change ensures that all strata schemes must obtain two quotes for works exceeding a specified amount.
Strata Schemes Development Act 2015
Strata Renewal: This section outlines substantial modifications in the process of strata renewal. Notable changes include:
- the extension of the operational duration of a strata renewal committee from 1 year to 2 years without requiring an extension.
- The bill also introduces provisions that allow a strata renewal order to proceed even in cases of non-compliance with preliminary steps, provided the court does not consider such non-compliance to result in substantial injustice.
- Additionally, the bill may potentially remove the entitlement of a dissenting owner to receive a costs order if their dissent is not in good faith and may allow for costs to be awarded against them in specific circumstances, such as when a dissenting owner is a competing developer objecting solely to increase costs.
- The bill further clarifies that dissenting owners may receive either an ordinary costs order (approximately 55-75%) or indemnity costs (80%+), with the determination made by the court.
A significant change in this category aims to eliminate the need for a review of unit entitlements for the entire strata scheme in cases involving only a small amount of common property, streamlining the process for certain subdivisions.
Community Land Management Act 2021
The proposed changes in the Community Land Management Act 2021 parallel those in the Strata Schemes Management Act. These changes encompass:
Two Lot Schemes:
- adjustments regarding the election and removal of committee members,
- notice of expiring agency agreements,
- repaying funds used for expenses of another fund,
- shorter notice for levies related to urgent works,
- the requirement for two quotes,
- prevention of blanket bans on pets or bonds,
- permitting the consolidation of by-laws without necessitating changes,
- extending the notice period for AGMs to 14 days, and
- introducing restrictions on the number of votes that can be held by company nominees and powers of attorney.
The bill introduces specific amendments to cater to the unique circumstances of two-lot schemes. These amendments include:
- changes related to the voting power of the original owner in two-lot schemes and
- the removal of the requirement to obtain a resolution to pursue a breach of a by-law.
The Strata Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 proposes a comprehensive range of changes that touch on vital aspects of strata management. While these amendments are subject to further deliberation, they reflect a significant step toward enhancing and streamlining strata management processes in various key areas.