Change is happening for Strata laws.
Last year strata laws here in WA underwent their most significant changes in more than twenty years, impacting Perth’s many strata title investment properties. More changes are planned with community titles that will affect mixed-use developments.
We’ve broken down the changes that affect landlords and tenants.
Better information for strata buyers
Under the new laws, strata buyers now get more information about the property they’re interested in buying before they purchase it.
Sellers now need to provide prospective buyers with:
- Estimated strata levy contributions over a 12-month period
- The strata scheme’s most recent statement of accounts
- Any amount the current lot owner already owes to the strata company
- The minutes from the strata company’s most recent AGM or any extraordinary general meeting that’s been held since
- A full set of the scheme’s by-laws
- Information about any termination proposal received by the strata company
These changes make it easier for property investors to carry out their due diligence before buying a strata investment property.
More efficient dispute resolution
There’s a new way to handle strata disputes that’s more cost-effective and efficient.
The State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) now handles all strata disputes in WA. The only exception is the recovery of unpaid levies – they still go through the civil courts. The SAT is less formal and more flexible than traditional courts, so it can be a more appropriate and timely way for both landlords and tenants to resolve strata issues.
A fairer process for scheme termination
Scheme termination refers to the collective sale or redevelopment of a strata scheme, and the process now includes comprehensive safeguards for all strata owners, including property investors.
Schemes with four lots or less must be unanimous in their decision to terminate. For schemes of five lots or more, there is now a set of safeguards in place to ensure the process is fair for all owners, including an independent review by the SAT if there are any dissenting owners.
Tenants in strata schemes that have received a termination proposal must be notified and kept informed if the termination goes to the SAT. If the SAT rules that the termination may go ahead it may also rule that tenants be paid an extra amount for ending their tenancy early. If a tenancy is cancelled as the result of a strata scheme termination, tenants must be given reasonable time to move out.
Improvements to strata management
Changes have been made to by-laws, the rules which all owners and tenants must follow, to improve scheme management, reduce disputes and make strata living fairer. Tenants should have a copy of the new by-laws, as they are expected to abide by them and could be approached by the Strata Management company over any breaches.
The rules about running strata schemes have been updated to reflect modern strata management needs, such as allowing electronic options for communication, voting and meeting attendance. Strata managers need to be qualified in a similar way to real estate agents. This will no doubt make life easier for property investors who own a strata property.
More flexible staged subdivision
Property investors buying a strata property off-the-plan, or before completion, should be aware that there is now greater flexibility for developers to deliver strata schemes in stages. The reforms make it crystal clear when the consent of owners is required to change the way a scheme is being developed. This is to protect the rights of owners who bought into earlier stages of the development while simultaneously making the process smoother for developers.
What do changes to property laws mean for landlords?
Keeping up-to-date with ever-changing property legislation can be complicated and time-consuming for property investors. That’s where a good property manager can add value. For expert advice from our specialist Perth property management team, contact us today.