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Media Release – INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY AVAILABLE
Attention Chief of Staff
GAME CHANGING REFORM
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2017 AS AN APARTMENT OWNER
Victoria’s biggest regions, including Mildura could be about to be sparked into a strata property development boom, after theVictorian State Government recently tabled game changing reform options for the $300 billion strata sector
And the peak body representing apartment and unit owners statewide is right behind the push, which is set to better the lives of 1.6 million Victorians calling strata title properties home.
It’s about this time every year that property owners start thinking about what the next year will hold, and for strata property owners in Mildura, the answer could be very big things.
Ease of redevelopment, greater accountability for developers of defective buildings, licensing for strata managers andmandatory maintenance funds are the big ticket items which all work to take the sector forward, and Victorians are set to benefit.
It’s been over a decade since laws were updated for apartment and unit living, and the peak body for Victoria’s strata property sector, Strata Community Australia (Vic) says ‘future proofing’ can’t happen soon enough.
“1 in 4 Victorians currently call strata properties home and the Options Paper recently released by State Government works to better the lives of each and every one of them,” SCA (Vic) General Manager Rob Beck said today.
“A lot has happened since the last time laws were updated back in 2006, and with major population growth ahead, we’ve been eager to see reform fast tracked as soon as possible.”
Mr Beck says the Options Paper released for industry consultation resembles a comprehensive overhaul of the Owners Corporations Act and it is great to see the Victorian State Government taking the sector’s future seriously.
1.6 million new dwellings will be needed by 2051 to account for Victoria’s population growth, and 66% of these would be apartments or townhouses.”
“It’s never been more important to plan for the future of Victoria’s property sector and we’re excited to see what 2017 holds for owners, now that the State Government has laid the platform for change.”
Mr Beck says consumer protection is a core focus of the reform options being tabled, with greater accountability for developers of defective buildings, licensing for strata managers and mandatory maintenance funds all working to protect owners statewide.
“Building defects is an issue that hardly needs an introduction, and that speaks to the impact it has had on Victorians.”
“Experts have estimated the financial toll of this issue on owners statewide since 2006 to be upwards of $1 billion, and the fact that this figure goes well beyond the relief efforts for disasters like Cyclone Yasi in North Queensland speaks to its systemic nature.”
“Some of the reform options we have consulted on is for developer’s obligations to be extended and expanded in line with the approach taken in New South Wales, which involves banning developers being strata managers, and another is that developers pay a 2% defects bond for surety.”
Mr Beck says options like the licensing of all strata professionals are just as pivotal for consumer protection and the future professional standards of the industry and SCA (Vic) is excited at the prospect of this long awaited measure becoming a reality.
“Strata managers are individually in effective control of millions of dollars in funds and assets, and licensing is something we have been pushing to oversee this profession for some time.”
“We currently have 85% of Victorian strata managers as part of our member base, which requires them to abide by strict codes of conduct to keep their membership, but elsewhere there are some unprofessional operators out there and licensing is hoped to be a way to clean up their act.”
Mr Beck says the major growth opportunities on a development level are linked to the reform option, which would allow strata schemes to make termination (or redevelopment) decisions on a 75%, majority basis, instead of the currently enforced 100%.
“75% scheme termination is a measure that has recently been introduced in New South Wales, and it’s one we hope to see in Victoria’s future.”
“We’ve seen dozens of instances where a single owner has blocked the re-development of run down, aged and degraded apartment and unit blocks, which in some cases should be rightfully bulldozed.”
“Along with the multi-million dollar OH&S issues posed by age and defects like concrete cancer, some of these older schemes have reached the end of their economic lifespan and are too costly to maintain; so often owners take the view that knocking them down and starting over is the best option.”
“Conversely, there are also instances where owners simply wish to take a developer’s offer and move on, despite there being nothing wrong with the building, and we’re aware that there must be reasonable, equitable consideration for owners in these situations.”
“Whilst we don’t want to see a majority of willing owners unable to sell out of ageing and potentially unsafe buildings, we must be careful to not create a bullying environment where those who feel at home in their property can be forced to leave purely on the wishes of others.”
Mr Beck says industry consultation closes on December 16th, and all stakeholders are encouraged to have their say on what the laws governing their properties will look like.
About Strata Community Australia (Vic)
Strata Community Australia (Vic) is the peak industry body for Strata and Community Title Management in Victoria. Supporting more than 80% of all owners corporation management firms, it is the only organisation solely focused upon representing this increasingly significant industry, and reaches and representsmore than560 owners corporation professionals who manage approximately 375,000 lots.
It also represents industry suppliers and owners corporations, making it the voice of all with an interest in the management of owners corporations.Members benefit from representation, promotion, establishment of professional practice guidelines and ethical standards, and professional development through education seminars, conferences and regularly publishing bulletins on items of professional interest.Website:
Strata Community Australia (Vic)