Finding the laws affecting strata tricky? You're not alone.
Western Australia's strata title and strata company regulations can often change and, if you're on a council of owners or simply an owner in a strata property, they can seem really confusing - especially when it comes to insurance. And that's where Flex Insurance can help.
We're experts in residential strata insurance for properties in Perth and regional WA, because strata insurance is what we do. So, we can make sure your strata company is covered for everything it needs, including tailored additional cover that meets your needs perfectly.
Timeline - Strata Titles Amendment Act 2018 and Strata Titles General Regulations 2019
The Strata Titles Act was passed in 1985 and forms the basis of most strata title law in WA. In 2018, a range of amendments were presented, and then in 2019, regulations were introduced to help clarify some sections of the Act. The amendments to the Act came into effect from 1 May, 2020.
What is strata title in Western Australia?
Strata title is one of the most common types of property ownership Perth and regional Western Australia. It allows people to own an individual unit (e.g. an apartment) in a larger complex. Owners are also automatically members of the strata company, which is a separate body that owns, and is responsible for, the building itself and all the common areas, as well as creating by-laws for residents.
Why are strata titles important?
Because they own their unit, strata titles owners enjoy more control over their own property than they would if they were tenants of the building's owner. They also have voting rights at the strata company AGM and other special meetings, and can make decisions on levies and fees as well as maintenance and improvements. They also elect the committee or council of owners, who meet more regularly, like a company board.
If you're are a member of a strata company's council of owners, then it is important that you know your obligations under the various acts and regulations that deal with strata companies. Each state is different, but in WA, the four key pieces of legislation are the Strata Titles Act 1985, the Strata Titles Amendment Act 2018, the Strata Titles Regulations 2019, and the Community Titles Act 2018.
The Strata Titles Act 1985 and the regulations are the laws that deals most extensively with strata committees and owners corporations.
Strata Titles Act 1985
The Act aims to provide clarity around strata companies, and the rights and obligations of a council of owners. This includes who is responsible for what in a strata property, the things that strata companies are legally required to do (such as taking out strata insurance), and how disputes should be resolved.
The Act covers a huge range of topics, such as:
- Setting up a strata title scheme and council of owners
- The constitution of the corporation
- Strata meetings and AGMs
- Functions, obligations and responsibilities of the strata company
- Role and powers of the council of owners
- Appointing external strata managers
- Financial management and responsibility
- Property and asset management
- Functions and responsibilities of building managers
- Making and enforcing by-laws
- Responsibility for building repairs and defects
- Compulsory building and liability insurance
- Disputes and how to resolve them
Strata Titles Regulations 2019
The regulations are designed to add more detail to the Strata Titles Act 1985 or clarify particular sections. Instead of being passed by parliament, they are made by the Minister and can be changed more quickly to deal with issues that arise across the state in regards to strata companies. The Regulations go into a lot more detail about strata management.
Community Titles Act 2018
The Community Titles Act 2018 introduced a new form of common ownership of land and property to allow for more complex or mixed-use development. All such properties must have a Community Development Statement that sets out how the community scheme is to be subdivided and developed.
Strata Titles Amendment Act 2018
In 2018, a series of amendments to the Strata Titles Act 1985 were adopted. These mostly dealt with modernising language and terminology, making the Act easier to understand, and bringing the Act into line with other laws and community expectations.
Six ways the Strata Titles Amendment Act can affect councils of owners
The amendments brought in a number of changes designed to make strata in Western Australia better. These included:
- Increasing the minimum professional standards of strata property managers, and making them more accountable to a council of owners
- Improving the standards of council of owners and their record keeping. Council members must act in good faith and always in the best interests of the strata company. Records can be kept electronically, making it easier for owners to inspect documents and get a clearer understanding of council decisions
- Owners gaining more say in how their strata company is managed, and how to deal with by-laws and decisions that owners think are unfair, oppressive or discriminatory
- Giving owners more say on how common property is maintained and improved, including installing green energy infrastructure
- Greater power to enforce by-laws, giving owners and strata committees the ability to take breaches to the State Administrative Tribunal
- Giving prospective buyers more information about the property they are looking to purchase
Still not quite clear?
The way laws are written can often be confusing, but if you have an external strata manager, they should be able to advise you further as they are experts in WA strata laws and regulations. If you don't have an external strata manager, getting advice from a solicitor specialising in property law may be a wise investment.
A wise first step...
Taking out the right strata insurance is an important and valuable first step to take.
That's why it makes sense to chat to an expert at Flex Insurance, because we are strata and strata company insurance specialists. It's our key focus, so we make sure you'll have the right strata cover, for the right price, and flexibility to add extra cover if you need.