In case you haven’t heard, one of the most historic reforms to Western Australia’s strata legislation was proposed back in 2018, with the most significant changes to be made to strata in over 20 years.
The reform aims to provide strata owners, occupiers and developers with clearer and simpler frameworks that are more transparent and accountable for owning, living in, or building strata in WA.
The Benefits of the amended Strata Titles Act 1985
The amended Strata Titles Act 1985, is due to take effect in WA this year on May 1, 2020 and will provide 6 new main benefits:
- Better buyers information: Strata buyers will receive more information about the property they are looking to buy upfront, before signing a contract of sale. New disclosure obligations will be introduced for sellers of strata titles.
- More efficient dispute resolution: Stata disputes will have a more cost-effective and efficient dispute resolution forum.
- A fairer process for scheme termination: Scheme termination relates to the collective sale or redevelopment of strata schemes.
- Improving strata management and by-laws: Strata schemes will benefit from better by-laws, modernised scheme management, statutory duties for strata managers and in some instances, the introduction of a 10-year maintenance plan and reserve fund.
- Introducing leasehold strata: Leasehold is a new form of land ownership in WA that will become available, starting on the 1st of May, 2020.
- More flexible staged subdivision: There will be more flexibility for the staged development of strata and survey-strata schemes.
Click here to find out more details on the changes mentioned above.
But what does this mean for strata managers?
The key points we will be discussing in this article are:
- Why WA desperately needs strata reform
- What does this mean for strata managers
- What new duties are included under this reform
- What happens if strata managers do not fulfil these duties
Why the need to reform?
Previously, the legislation did not acknowledge or provide regulations to which governed the role and responsibilities of strata managers. To be totally upfront, it’s a bit of a grey area. Who was responsible for keeping strata managers in check? To ensure they fulfilled their duties to the highest of standards? Who was penalised if things went wrong?
You see, there were no minimum standards or statutory requirements that strata managers were being held accountable for.
Up until now, if you’ve had pleasant experiences with good strata management, it was the result of attentive, hardworking people who pride themselves on providing the highest of standards. Those who’ve had bad experiences, well we don’t need to tell you twice about why this reform is necessary.
What does this mean for strata managers?
This reform aims to make strata managers more accountable for their duties and require them to deliver nothing short of professional services to the highest of standards to all strata companies they work with.
The new duties WA strata managers need to know
For the first time in Western Australia, strata managers will receive a legislated framework of responsibilities to guide them in their role.
- There will be clear requirements and guidelines about what clients and strata companies can expect from strata managers. Many of these expectations are things effective strata managers are already doing — plus some new ones.
- Volunteer strata managers will also receive guidance on how this relationship should work through the new law and regulations.
Here at the new statutory duties included under the new law:
- Acting honestly and in good faith to the strata company
- Exercising a reasonable degree of skill, care and diligence
- Not make improper use of information acquired as strata manager for a strata company to gain an advantage for yourself or someone else, or cause a detriment to the strata company
- Not make improper use of the position of strata manager to gain an advantage for yourself or someone else, or cause a detriment to the strata company
- Having a good working knowledge of the legislation relevant to managing a strata scheme
- Having a written contract with the strata company
- Being able to account separately for money that you pay or receive on behalf of the strata company
What happens if strata managers do not fulfil their duties?
It’s simple, you will be out of the job. Once the amendments are in place, strata companies will have the ability to terminate the strata management contract if strata managers fail to adhere to their statutory obligations.
Strata companies will also have the right to seek compensation from the State Administrative Tribunal with a new and easier dispute resolution process that’s faster and lower cost. Compensations may include strata managers requiring to pay damages to the strata company if they have suffered a financial loss resulting from a breach in duties by the strata manager.
Overview of reform timeline
As per the Government of WA and Landgate, the Amended Strata Titles Act 1985 is as follows:
1 May 2020 | Proposed commencement date
- The amended Strata Titles Act 1985 is proposed to commence on 1 May 2020. However, it is important to remember this date is subject to the parliamentary process and may change as a result.
- Landgate expects to provide confirmation on the proposed commencement date in April 2020.
April 2020 | Community readiness sessions
- Free readiness sessions will be held to support West Australians in preparing for commencement of the amended Strata Titles Act 1985.
- Session dates and locations are expected to be made available in March 2020 – Subscribe for updates.
January to April 2020 | Parliamentary process
Proposed Strata Titles (General) Regulations 2019 are required to be scrutinised by Parliament and proceed through several important steps, including:
- Tabling to the Joint Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation.
- Tabling before each house of Parliament.
- Allowing 14 sitting days for each house of Parliament (during which the regulations are disallowable).
How Codee Cleaning can assist strata managers in fulfilling their duties
We have made it our mission to ensure the companies we partner with receive nothing short of comprehensive and high-quality cleaning services. This means keeping up to date and staying on top of Western Australian laws and regulations. In other words, we hold ourselves just as accountable as our employer is responsible for ensuring we are doing our duties.
Anywhere from making sure contractors are properly insured, paying their employees correctly, and having the correct insurance cover, to safely using and storing chemicals with safety data sheets onsite. We hold ourselves responsible for ensuring our clients meet the new laws and regulations of the strata reform when they come into effect on May 1st, 2020.
If it’s not Codee Cleaning, it’s not clean enough.