Managing Buildings Better

The ACT Government is delivering a fairer and easier way to live and work together. The Managing Buildings Better reforms will amend legislation related to unit titles (often referred to a strata or unit title management) to improve the management of apartments, townhouses and mixed-use developments and commercial units.

This work is also linked with our Better Building Quality program of reforms and the ACT Planning Review as we work to deliver a compact, efficient and sustainable Canberra, as outlined in the ACT Planning Strategy. This connection of projects allows us to take a holistic approach to improving the quality of development from planning, through construction to property management.

Why are we making changes?

Canberra is growing by around 7,000 people per year and around 100,000 new homes will be required in the next 25 years. The ACT Planning Strategy sets a target of 70 per cent of these homes to be built in existing urban areas, which means that more people will be living and working in mixed-use developments.

The current legislation governing unit titles is complex and makes it difficult for owners' corporations (building governance bodies) to fairly and efficiently manage the operations of buildings including common facilities, levies and disputes. The first stage of reforms has now occurred with changes to legislation to address some of these problems. Stage two will consider further reforms to unit title legislation in the future.

What do we mean by mixed-use development?

Mixed-use development are buildings or building complexes containing multiple, different uses. Generally, this means that there is a combination of residential units and commercial operations within the one site.

Some examples of mixed-use could be:

What are the reforms?

The Unit Titles Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 was passed on 18 February 2020. The initial package of reforms includes:

These reforms will consider changes to various pieces of legislation including:

Legislation title

Description

Unit Titles Act 2001

Provides for the subdivision of land by a units plan and primarily concerns applications for new developments and the way in which these developments are divided into units

Unit Titles (Management) Act 2011

Provides for the management of units plans, outlining the rules, responsibilities and governance applicable to owners corporations (building management bodies)

Civil Law (Sale of Residential Property) Act 2003

Provides for the sale of residential property, outlining the rules, regulations and laws applicable to a term or contract of sale

Community Title Act 2001

Provides for the establishment and administration of community title schemes, which applies to common areas and property within a units plan

Timeline

ACT Government will now implement the reforms under the Bill and prepare information for stakeholders to assist in understanding the new requirements.

Work will then continue on more complex reforms, which will consider issues such as how we plan for and design mixed-use developments.

28 November 2019

An initial package of reforms was introduced to the ACT Legislative Assembly as the Unit Titles Legislation Amendment Bill 2019

18 February 2020

The Bill was debated and passed by the Assembly

Commencement

The amendments will commence on 1 November 2020 with further transitional periods provided for some of the new requirements

2020/22

Proposed Stage Two reforms

How do we decide what to reform?

An industry and community consultative group is working with government to guide the reforms.

Members of the consultative group include:

Who will benefit?

The reforms will apply to all buildings governed by the Unit Titles Act 2001 and Unit Titles (Management) Act 2011, where a units plan or unit title is in place. Put simply, where there are multiple units or dwellings on a single site. This may include apartments, townhouses or mixed-use developments and commercial tenancies.

The reforms will benefit owners, residents and business owners living and working in mixed-use developments and have flow on benefits for residential unit-titled sites. This will make it easier for owners' corporations across any site to manage their building, fairly distribute building costs and meet the needs of owners and residents.