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 8,000 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.
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:
- An apartment block which has cafés and restaurants on the ground floor and residential units on the floors above.
- A building with a commercial gym on the ground floor, commercial offices on the first floor, and with residential apartments on the floors above Residential units situated above a public parking station.
What are the reforms?
We are seeking to introduce an initial package of reforms to the Assembly in late 2019. These reforms will consider changes to various pieces of legislation including:
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.
Provides for the management of units plans, outlining the rules, responsibilities and governance applicable to owners corporations (building management bodies).
Provides for the sale of residential property, outlining the rules, regulations and laws applicable to a term or contract of sale.
Provides for the establishment and administration of community title schemes, which applies to common areas and property within a units plan.
The first phase of reforms in relation to legislation scheduled for introduction in 2019 will focus on practical issues including decision making, administrative processes and more equitable distribution of metering and maintenance costs.
If agreed, these reforms will deliver immediate outcomes, making it fairer and easier for people living and working together.
Work will continue on more complex reforms, which are anticipated to be in place by 2022 and will consider issues such as how we plan for and design mixed-use developments.
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:
- Master Builders Association of the ACT
- Property Council of Australia - ACT Division
- Planning Institute of Australia
- Housing Industry Association
- Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute
- Real Estate Institute of the ACT
- Strata Community Australia
- ACT Law Society
- Owners Corporation Network ACT
- Tenants’ Union ACT Inc
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.
More information will be added to this page as legislation is presented tabled to the ACT Legislative Assembly.