A recent round of public hearings has resulted in broad agreement by the states and industry stake holders to adopt the model legislation. The real estate industry still have some issues with the changes to their licensing regime as it is a fairly significant departure from their current regime which includes Continuing Professional Development requirements.
Also see Licensing for Strata Managers below.
The state government are currently going through a public consultation period in the lead up to making a decision on 1) whether to introduce licensing for strata managers and 2) what form licensing might take.
There are many aspects to introducing a licensing scheme but the main broad issues are
There are many complaints about the over regulation of our lives in Australia and we certainly value our freedom and support the freedom of others but the issue is about protecting the rights and investments of consumers in the strata title industry. Currently there are limited options for owners to resolve an issue with their strata manager.
We encourage you to make a submission to the state government and let them know what your opinions are.
The government consultation paper can be found by clicking here
You can download a pro forma letter by clicking here
Recognising a need amongst strata lot owners and strata council members for assistance with problems and education programs Strata Community Australia WA (SCAWA) is about to introduce two new member categories. The final details of what the package of benefits and costs of membership will contain it is anticipated that strata company members will be entitled to discounted training sessions for strata council members, access to an advisor, and a regular copy of the strata industry magazine. There may also be networking events specifically for these categories of members to discuss common issues as well as opportunities to participate in SCAWA activities such as lobbying state government and policy development.
These moves are a direct result of current SCAWA membersí commitment to the strata industry and looking for new ways to actively engage with all participants in the industry, including the most important sector - consumers.
The strata title industry in Western Australia has grown since inception in 1966 to be a significant part of the property sector. Strata managers are responsible for many millions of dollars and billions of dollars worth of real estate investment and yet there is currently no minimum standard of education or legislative control over the industryís managers. Strata managers are not even mentioned in the Strata Titles Act 1985. The Western Australian peak professional body for the strata industry - Strata Communities Australia (WA) is currently lobbying to adopt the National Occupations Licensing Act regulations relating to strata managers and is being met with some reluctance to hand control of state legislation to a national regime. A press release on this topic can be found using the following link - Click Here
We have been fortunate that despite the size of the industry and the lack of any government controls over the industry that there have been no major incidents of fraud or other misconduct reported as has been in the real estate sector. We do not believe that this situation should continue as there is a significant risk in allowing significant funds and valuable assets to be left in the hands of managers who, despite their best intentions, do not necessarily have the required skills to do the job properly.
We will be calling for support for licensing of strata managers once the public consultation period commences.
Each state and territory in Australia has some form of strata title legislation which has proved to be a popular method of developing land to provide varied housing products particularly to meet government population growth housing targets.
The growth of the strata industry across Australia into a industry employing thousands of people directly and indirectly including strata managers, lawyers, surveyors, valuers, tradesmen, builders, etc, etc. The industry has direct impact on the one in four Australians that own, live in, or work in a strata property and invested many billions of dollars into the real estate incorporated into the strata properties.
On the 1st of July 2011 the existing National Community Titles Institute was re-incorporated as Strata Communities Australia and it is anticipated that each of the current NCTI member states with re-brand to align with the new Strata Community Australia branding.
The SCA launch marks a significant shift to a truly national approach not only the provision of information and education services to itís members but also provide a national voice for the industry which is being increasingly influenced by nationalised licensing, wages awards, carbon emission and other legislation.
As of 31st December 2004 the position of the Strata Titles Referee was dissolved and the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) was established. The SAT act has made sweeping changes to many existing acts of Parliament replacing many existing dispute resolution and appeal procedures with a common tribunal structure. Many of the functions and powers conferred on the previous referee have been transferred to the new SAT structure, however some changes to the Strata Titles Act have changed the nature of the previous provisions of the S.T. act and endowed the SAT with additional powers.
Being a new institution, the SAT has yet be fully tested so we are all watching very closely to see what changes, if any, will be made to the way Strata Titles operate in WA.
You can find out more about SAT at the SAT web site.
The WA Health Department has been reviewing current swimming pool regulations and has put forward legislation changes and a proposed Code of Practice to improve the safety of swimming pools. The public comment period closed on 31st May 2004.
The proposals include changes that relate to :-
The changes should generally be well accepted by strata companies due to the easing of some of the more onerous provisions of the current regulations which strata companies currently have to meet.
Developers with projects including swimming pools and spas currently under construction or due to start should consult their architects to ensure they do not have to make post construction alterations to meet the new regulations which will become effective once adopted by Parliament.