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New South Wales strata reforms to aid multi-unit developments

On Nov 18 2013
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  • News

The recently proposed reforms to New South Wales strata laws could be great news for anyone ...

The recently proposed reforms to New South Wales strata laws could be great news for anyone considering purchasing investment property in Sydney.

Minister for Fair Trading Anthony Roberts announced last week (November 14) that the changes will help to improve the strata living of many across the state.

It has been estimated that by 2030, half of the housing stock in Sydney will consist of multi-unit dwellings. These reforms are designed to help ensure apartment and unit complexes remain structed, viable options for tenants and owners alike.

For example, a new high rise bond will be put in place to facilitate the protection of homeowners and tenants.

"The bond will be equivalent of 2 per cent of the cost of the building work. This will address defective work and give consumers added protection if a developer becomes insolvent," said Mr Roberts in a November 14 statement.

"The bond will be released once an independent defects inspection has been undertaken and any defects have been rectified."

Industry body Urban Taskforce has praised the proposed reforms, with Chief Executive Officer Chris Johnson stating the changes will be a positive move for everyone involved.

"NSW is leading the country in terms of the number of strata apartments and it is essential that we have the best builders and developers involved in constructing these buildings so that owners corporations can be assured of quality results," said Mr Johnson in a November 14 statement.

He highlighted the development of an independent expert assessment for buildings one year after construction has been completed, providing an "impartial umpire" who will assess any defects or problems arising in the building.

This sentiment was shared by Stephen Goddard, chairperson for the Owners Corporation Network, who said these problems affect 80 per cent of the new strata schemes currently being released.

He mentioned that the cost of maintaining ageing stratas can be difficult for some owners, especially when this is attempted through the addition of special levies. However, this new model will promote more fairness and transparency, as well as providing more protection for owners.

He stated it didn't make sense to have a strata system that lasts 1,000 when the buildings themselves don't, and that having strata titles that do not allow for easy urban renewal were "contrary to the public interest".

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