Strata law reforms delayed … again


Apartment owners fearing they will be forced by neighbours to sell their homes to developers, or dreading the tread of parking wardens in their car parks, have been given a temporary reprieve.

New strata laws, slated to come in on July 1st, won’t now be in force until later this year.

Allowing 75 percent of owners to force their neighbours to sell their apartments for redevelopment, and for owners corporations to invite council parking inspectors into their building to ticket offenders, were part of massive strata law reforms passed by the NSW Parliament last year.

But the changes, which also include a 2 percent defects bond from developers, curbs on proxy voting, bans on strata managers and rental agents being members of strata committees, and changes to by-laws to make pet ownership easier, are unlikely to be in force before September.

“We want the laws in place as soon as possible but the stakeholders are telling us that they need more time to get themselves ready,” Innovation and Better Regulations Minister Victor Dominello told Flat Chat.

“The changes are both widespread and far-reaching so we need to listen to the industry, owners and residents and get it right before they come into effect.

“We are dealing with the biggest reforms in 50 years, with over 90 changes to the law, so we’ve decided to allow a few months’ leeway to ensure the regulations are properly bedded down.”

One of the factors delaying implementation of the laws is that many of them are dependent on regulations that are not yet in place.

For instance,  the Act says the regulations will dictate how electronic and proxy voting will take place. The devil will be in the detail but the regulations are yet to be sighted.

The use of regulations, rather than statutes, is a smart way to deal with strata law reform.  It allows legislators to be flexible without having to go back to parliament every time they want to tweak the laws.

Strata living seems to attract more than its fair share of dodgy dealers, opportunists, shonks and incompetents – not to mention petty dictators drunk on their own tiny snifter of power.

Rule by regulation allows the powers that be to move swiftly to close the loopholes that open up in our ever-evolving world. The problem is, someone has to write the rules and then everybody in the industry has to get all their forms and literature ready for this brave new world.



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