Dieb P. Khoury of Benjamin & Khoury Solicitors, Principal Solicitor and Attorney shares with you, his thoughts, his opinion, on the reform schedule as he knows it, and mentions the NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulations effects to keep NSW the leader in reforms with quality living in Strata using the resource DAC.
First in brief, the Government and what have they been doing. They have set up DAC as referred to above. From what we understand DAC has undertaken six (6) projects and one of the projects that we are aware of is in relation to Strata ‘Slumlords’.
The project is set up to help locate and identify and deal with ‘Slumlords’. It is believed that the ‘Slumlords’ are allowing large numbers into units that are too small to accommodate.
Quoting from CIO Australia:
‘Certain dodgy landlords were found to have been placing 14 vulnerable students into two bedroom flats, charging up to $150 per person, per week. In August 2014, the NSW government threatened to cut off electricity to these apartments to shut down their practices’*
We are told that data can be sourced by various ways, by realising the usage of water and electricity in higher than normal usage is one example, Development Applications etc. are further resources that can confirm the number of suitable residence for each unit. Excessive usage, let’s say a one bedroom unit that should occupy one person or possibly a couple at most, could indicate the usage of what would be expected for 6 persons living in the unit. This sort of excessive data usage would be flagged and given to the relevant authorities.
The above resource referred to ‘Slumlords’, we are aware that it is not always the way that the Landlord is aware, and that tenants whose name appears on the Lease may be allowing large numbers of occupiers to live in the apartment and maybe collecting rent from these people without the Landlord being aware.
Whichever is the case, when too many people live in cramped conditions and it is not recognised, it can cause Health and Safety issues, as well as unnecessary disturbance to other residence within the Strata Scheme.
It is believed that the DAC will put NSW as a leader nationally and also worldwide collecting data usage, to help stamp out the above.
NSW Government is not only reforming Strata, it is thinking outside the box and implementing changes through as many resources as possible as mentioned above.
Schedule as we know it.
When it comes to reforms of any nature a start dates needs to be set, unfortunately the due process can hold schedules and timeframes up. Causing unexpected delays, NSW Fair Trading has indicated that the changes are at this stage expected to start around mid-year 2016.
NSW the leading state in reforms, by way of starting the campaign for Reforms in Strata.
|Before it was passed – it was a Bill:||After it was passed – it became an Act:|
|A Strata Schemes Management Bill 2015||Strata Schemes Management Act 2015|
|A Strata Schemes Development Bill 2015||Strata Schemes Development Act 2015|
What’s next after the above has been done? Is it ready to implement you ask?
There is a further process we need to include with the Strata Reforms. We need to create a regulation, two in fact. As we discussed in last week’s article:
1. The draft Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016; and
2. The draft Strata Schemes Development Regulation 2016.
To support the above Acts of 2015.
Each week we are going to touch on an area of the new reforms.
This week ‘Modern and Flexible Schemes’
In short, the reforms have considered the NOW and modern forms of communication, the modern technology era.
Such reforms are:
- Voting by Post, electronically and the consideration of secret ballots, papers can be disputed by email.
- NSW Fairtrading has informed us that the reforms will accommodate meetings attendance through various sources: social media, telephone conference and video links.
- Owners Corporations will have flexibility for their annual general meetings and when they can be held.
- The above are only a few, out of the sum ninety law associated and supporting reforms to be sort.
Looking at Modern Forms of Communication and other areas within Strata where the modern era can assist are listed below. We have covered the main ones and will continue to continue under different subtitles during this 10 week article on reforms.
|Current Law||Reformed Law|
|Modern Forms of Communication||
|Enable a summons or other legal process to be served on the owners corporation by post.
|Provide more options for schemes to deal with unauthorised parking.||
|Allow schemes to adopt a charter||
|Allow for more appointments to the Strata committee.||
|Establish processes, similar to those that exist under residential tenancies law, for dealing with abandoned goods.||
|Establish a common sense approach to owner renovations.||
We will continue to show the comparison between the current law the reforms over the next 10 weeks. We welcome your feedback.