Strata Titles Act 1985

Do you own, or are you thinking of buying a duplex, townhouse or apartment in a small complex, a penthouse in a high-rise building, a shop at a local shopping centre, a factory unit in a large group, or office in a city tower, or a unit in a retirement village? Do you lease this type of property?

All these properties have something in common – they are all registered as Strata Titles or SurveyStrata Titles at Landgate, are all subject to the Strata Titles Act 1985 (the Act) and will all be subject to changes brought about by the Strata Titles Amendment Bill that is proceeding through Parliament. As an owner within a strata scheme, you own your lot and have shared ownership of common property with the other owners in your strata scheme in accordance with your unit entitlement. Under the Act, owners are subject to restrictions relating to their property. These restrictions are laid out in the Act and the strata scheme’s by-laws. Each owner has rights and responsibilities that will be exercised in partnership with other owners. The rights and responsibilities of lease holders (tenants) are detailed in their tenancy agreements and in the scheme’s by-laws.

What is the Strata Titles Act and why is it being reformed?

The Strata Titles Act 1985 (the Act) is legislation that sets out the processes and structure to manage mixed-use, high-density and shared living environments. The Act sets out processes and structure to manage and promote harmonious co-existence. The Act includes standard by-laws that aim to ensure standards of behaviour, building maintenance and management are maintained. Schedule 1 standard by-laws address rights relating to duties of proprietors/occupiers, proprietor powers, sub-meters, constitution of the council, election of the council, council roles, powers, voting and meetings. Schedule 2 standard by-laws address rights relating to parking, common property, floor coverings, general owner/occupier behaviour, appearance and maintenance of lots, decorating and the keeping of pets. Strata companies can adopt the standard schedule 1 or 2 by-laws or create their own.

Based on current trends, it is predicted that Western Australia’s population will increase to more than five million by 2056. There is a need for more housing to cater for the projected population increase including providing more innovative housing options, while also meeting urban infill targets. It is logical to plan for a growing number of strata schemes, which means WA needs a more robust and updated legislative framework to support strata and survey strata schemes. Landgate has been asked to deliver strata reforms as a priority to reflect more flexibility in strata developments and provide for better community environments.

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