Changes in Management of Strata Schemes

Majority of changes to the strata management legislation commenced on 30 November 2016, remaining changes are anticipated to start on 1 July 2017.  Some changes concern how an owner’s corporation (“OC”) will function and how strata properties will be managed. These changes will affect persons who own or rent strata units and developers of strata properties.

Some of the more relevant changes can be summarised as follows:-

  • Tenants will be entitled to participate in management of an OC if at least 50% of strata lots are leased and notice of tenancy was provided to the OC. Tenants may be present at the OC’s meetings but have no voting rights unless they hold a proxy from an owner.  Tenants will have to elect their representative to the strata committee. However, the representative’s decision making rights will be restricted: they will have no right to vote or make a motion, and may need to leave a committee meeting when finances or levies are being discussed.
  • Voting at the OC or committee meetings will be able to proceed by way of a tele or video conference, email or other electronic means or by arranging pre-meeting voting. An OC resolution will be required to implement this procedure.
  • Use of proxies at the OC meetings will be restricted. For example, strata and building managers will not be able to use a proxy vote if it would assist or allow them to obtain a pecuniary interest or a monetary benefit.  Developers will also be restricted from using a proxy vote if the proxy or power of attorney has been granted in a sale contract.
  • Prior to a first annual general meeting of the OC, a developer will be required to supply to the OC an initial maintenance and inspection schedule for any item on common property where maintenance and inspections are required to avoid damage or ensure proper functioning. Such schedule will need to be provided with manufacturer’s warranties, manuals and contact details with respect to equipment listed in the schedule.
  • Other documentation required to be provided by a developer prior to the first AGM includes copies of building valuations, building contracts, service agreements and the most recent BASIX certificate.
  • The OC is given the right to dispose of abandoned goods and personal property, including cars, left on common property without resorting to the procedures under the uncollected goods legislation.
  • New model by-laws are provided by the legislation and will apply to new schemes and current schemes if adopted by a special resolution of the OC. By-laws restricting number of occupants per a strata unit will not apply to immediate family members and carers residing in the unit.

Time will show how these new changes will practically operate and the extent of improvements to strata living they will facilitate.

Natalya Boyarkina

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