Regarding COVID-19 from Australian College of Strata Lawyers
Multi-dwelling Properties with Shared Facilities – Guidelines for coronavirus
Residential multi-dwelling developments with shared facilities represent a risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission between neighbouring residents, compared to single dwelling or lower density residential buildings.
This document is intended to provide advice to managers and operators of multi dwelling buildings in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell on how to limit the potential for transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) between residents, staff and visitors, and comply with directions issued by the Victorian Chief Health Officer under Stay at Home Restrictions.
‘Multi dwelling buildings’ includes, but is not limited to:
• Low, mid and high-rise residential apartment buildings
• Student accommodation
• Long term accommodation rentals
• Townhouses with shared facilities
• Single room occupancy properties with shared facilities
• Mixed use properties where there is residential component with shared facilities
It does not replace Victorian legislation or regulations which seek to protect the health, safety and welfare of tenants of residential apartments or student accommodation and should be implemented only in alignment with existing legislation.
Governing the Compact City: The role and effectiveness of strata management
Dr HAZEL EASTHOPE
An estimated three million people live in strata titled homes in Australia. The state of New South Wales (NSW) has the largest number of strata titled properties of all states and territories in the country and approximately 1.2 million people live in strata titled homes in the state. In the Sydney metropolitan area, almost a quarter of the population live in strata titled homes. This means that for the first time in Australia’s history large numbers of property owners find themselves in a legally binding relationship with their neighbours for the communal upkeep and maintenance of their property. The governance structures that mediate this community-based property ownership represent a new form of civic relationship.
With the development of increasing numbers of strata schemes, owners corporations, through their executive committees and the managing agents and other property professionals who support the sector, have become increasingly important in ensuring the maintenance and upkeep of significant parts of our cities. In effect, owners corporations act as a fourth tier of government that is democratically elected, with lawmaking, taxation and enforcement powers. But despite the growing prevalence of strata title in our lives, relatively little is known about how well the strata system works in practice to meet the needs of those people who own and live in strata properties. The Governing the Compact City project provides the first comprehensive assessment of how the strata title system is operating in regard to governance and management from the point of view of those who own, live in, and manage strata homes. While it is focused on NSW, the report’s findings have implications for the entire Australian strata market which is based on essentially the same governance and management arrangements.
The research project
The project had three major aims:
- To explore the role, capacity and effectiveness of owners corporations as agencies of property governance and management in contemporary urban Australia.
- To explore the capacity and effectiveness of strata managing agents as mediators of outcomes for residents and owners in the sector, and their role and function within the overall structure of management and governance.
- To assess how well residential strata works from strata owners’ points of view. The research project focused on residential strata properties with three or more lots in NSW. The research was undertaken between 2009 and 2012 and included surveys and interviews with strata owners, executive committee members and strata managing agents in NSW, as well as analysis of the NSW strata database and NSW strata schemes management legislation and interviews with peak body representatives around Australia. In total, the Research consulted 1,550 individuals including 1,020 strata owners, 413 executive committee members, 106 strata managing age
Bylaws – Mixed Use Development Act
PHIL PENNINGTON, Partner, Gadens
Gadens partner Phil Pennington has provided an update on car parking rights, where the Supreme Court of Queensland has decided that the rights of commercial owners to control a visitor carpark in a mixed use development were not ‘set in stone’. Cathedral Place is a large mixed use complex in Fortitude Valley, and was developed under legislation that preceded the Body Corporate and Community Management Act. The management structure of the complex involved the “Community Body Corporate “(which in the current legislation would be called the “principal” body corporate) and six precinct bodies corporate (in today’s language, “subsidiary” bodies corporate).
Company title: the pitfalls
Company title is a complex type of land ownership. It is a term used where a corporation owns land and the buildings on that land parcel. The land itself may be under either Old System or Torrens title. With the introduction of strata title legislation during the 1960s, its popularity waned, although there are still over 100 company title residential buildings in Sydney, with the majority in the inner Eastern Suburbs and lower North Shore.
A Disincentive to Service — Committee Members’ Personal Liability under the Unit Titles Act
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR ROD THOMAS
This article explores the issue of committee members’ personal liability to third parties, the body corporate, and individual owners under both the Unit Titles Act 2010, and at general law. The extent of this potential liability is significant and acts as a disincentive to service on body corporate committees. The law in this area is out of kilter with comparable areas of legal liability in both New Zealand and overseas strata title jurisdictions. This is a concern as bodies corporate cannot function without owner participation. Appropriate amendments to the Act are proposed and practical suggestions are made as to how the risk of liability being incurred by committee members can be minimised.
ATO Ruling No TR 2015/3
Strata title schemes governed by the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 (NSW), the Unit Titles (Management Act) 2011 (ACT), the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (Qld), the Owners Corporations Act 2006 (Vic), the Community Titles Act 1996 (SA) and Strata Titles Act 1988 (SA), the Strata Titles Act 1985 (WA), Strata Titles Act 1998 (Tas) and the Unit Titles Act (NT).