7 September 2023
September 2023 – Strata Regulatory Watch
In this edition we cover: NSW: Final version of the Fire Safety Schedule NSW : Update on strata management legislation Press release : Welcome to Gerard Doyle, our new NSW…
As part of their Managing Building Better legislative reforms, the ACT Government is continuing to amend legislation related to unit titles to improve the management of apartments, townhouses and mixed-use developments and commercial units.
Building on the stage 1 unit titles reform, the Unit Titles Legislation Amendment Act 2020 commenced on 1 November 2020.
The Unit Titles Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 builds on the stage one reforms. These stage two reforms, which are expected to commence on 1 July 2023, include:
Find out more about the stage two reforms.
These reforms changed various pieces of legislation, including:
Below is a more substative summary of some of the changes coming from 1 July 2023:
Every time “rules” (known as by-laws in other jurisdictions) changed or are added to, an owners corporations will be required to lodge an updated compilation of all of their alternative rules. This is the same concept as the “consolidaiton of by-laws” process as found in jurisdictions such as NSW and WA.
Previously, owners corporations were only required to lodge an amended rule or rule. This change means that prospective owners will have access to a full and current set of rules when they are purchasing a unit.
Unit owners may exempt themselves from the requirement to take out and maintain building insurance. This can only be done if the development contains class B units, and the exemption resolution must be unanimous. This typically occurs where each unit has building insurance, and unit owners decide that additional building insurance for the whole complex is not required  .
Under the current arrangements, once the decision to be uninsured is made, it later lapses at the next annual general meeting. This is an issue as there is no notification of this exemption lapsing, meaning that owners, and particularly prospective and new owners, may not be aware that their unit does not have building insurance.
The Unit Titles (Management) Act 2011 has been amended to:
The requirements for a unit title application are set out in the Unit Titles Act 2001 and the Unit Titles Regulation 2001. The combined effect of this legislation is that a unit titles application must include certain documentation (similar to a Development Application), such as a unit title assessment report.
The contents for the unit titles assessment report are prescribed by the Regulation. The Regulation also prescribes accompanying material for a unit titles assessment report. The legislation did not afford any discretion to the planning and land authority to waive the provision of all required documents.
Lodgement of the Unit Title application for a completed development was often delayed because the certificate of occupancy and use and the Transport Canberra and City Services operational acceptance for works on public unleased land had not yet been obtained.
Reforms to the unit title application process will make it possible to lodge a Unit Title application without the following ‘required material’:
The ‘required material’ may now be lodged with the unit title application and if not lodged must be provided by the applicant as further information to accompany the Unit Title application prior to approval of the Unit Title being granted.
From 1 July 2023, subleasing of the common property of a units plan will be permitted in certain circumstances. This provision formalises the process of using common property for business activities, provides a clear framework for subleasing common property, and provides a structure to protect the rights of unit owners.
The Unit Titles Legislation Amendment Act 2020 included amendments to the Unit Titles (Management) Regulation 2011 that were aimed at ensuring unit owners and occupiers are able to install and access sustainability infrastructure. These changes provided that permission to install sustainability infrastructure must not be unreasonably withheld. The 2020 changes did, however, allow for permission to install sustainability infrastructure be reasonably withheld where there are safety or structural considerations.
The Unit Titles Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 adds further examples where permission for the installation of sustainability infrastructure may be withheld, being financial considerations or equity of access to common property, easements, utility services, or facilities.
The Unit Titles Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 delivers stage two of the Unit Titles Reform Project. It amends a number of Acts with the aim of further streamlining and improving the legislative processes that relate to development and management of units plans. These reforms include:
© Australian Capital Territory
1. Section 101 Unit Titles (Management) Act 2011