Strata reforms aim to strengthen New South Wales apartments

1.11.13Late last week (November 14), Minister for Fair Trading Anthony Roberts released the proposed reforms to strata living in New South Wales, which is expected to improve the living conditions of people throughout the state.

There are more than 72,000 strata schemes in the state, with an average of five new schemes added everyday.

Mr Roberts predicts that by 2030, half of Sydney’s housing stock will be multi-unit dwellings. These reforms aim to strengthen the “culture of community and cooperation” within these buildings.

There are 70 proposed changes to strata law being put forward by the New South Wales government. Amongst them include requiring managing agents to disclose any commissions received during a 12 month period to the Annual General Meeting, with all non-monetary benefits from third parties being banned.

Furthermore, notice for small cosmetic changes such as painting a wall will not be required. However, notice will still be necessary to do something larger like refit a bathroom in one of the complex units.

With the expected population boom looming over Sydney in the near future, many of the reforms focus on ensuring people remain comfortable and have a good living experience. For example, owners may now limit the number of people who occupy lots to avoid overcrowding issues.

Mr Roberts also stated plans to introduce a high rise development bond, which will help to protect homeowners from any building defects that may occur.

“The bond will be equivalent of two per cent of the cost of the building work. This will address defective work and give consumers added protection if a developer becomes insolvent,” said Mr Roberts in a November 14 statement.

“The bond will be released once an independent defects inspection has been undertaken and any defects have been rectified.”

The reforms have been welcomed by a number of industry bodies, with Urban Taskforce Chief Executive Officer Chris Johnson stating the reforms will give a greater confidence to the industry as a whole.

“NSW is leading the country in terms of the number of strata apartments and it is essential that we have the best builders and developers involved in constructing these buildings so that owners corporations can be assured of quality results,” said Mr Johnson in a November 14 statement.

An independent expert assessment will be required for all buildings a year after their construction, in order to assess any defects or issues that may be arising with the new buildings, giving each party an “impartial umpire”, according to Mr Johnson.

With these reforms aiming to provide more security for everyone involved, now could be the perfect time to seriously consider investing in off the plan developments. With the impending population boom, and the added strength of these reforms, there has never been a better time to invest.

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