Managing Buildings Better

The ACT Government is delivering a fairer and easier way to live and work together. The Managing Buildings Better reforms 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 have we made these 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 apartments, townhouses and mixed-use developments.

The previous legislation governing unit titles was complex and made it difficult for owners corporations (building governance bodies) to manage the operations of buildings fairly and efficiently, including common facilities, levies and disputes. In response to this, the ACT Government began the Unit Titles Reform Project in 2016. The aim of this project is to improve the planning, governance and management of units plans (commonly known as strata).

The first stage of reforms has now occurred, with changes to legislation to improve the management and governance of residential and commercial unit titled developments and mixed-used developments. These reforms took effect on 1 November 2020 following the commencement of the Unit Titles Legislation Amendment Act 2020.

Stage two of the project has considered further reforms to unit title legislation, and will commence on 1 July 2023 with the Unit Titles Legislation Amendment Bill 2023.

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 Reform Project has been undertaken in two stages.

Stage one

The Unit Titles Legislation Amendment Act 2020 commenced on 1 November 2020. The initial package of reforms includes:

Find out more about the stage one reforms.

Stage two

The Unit Titles Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 builds on the stage one reforms. These stage two reforms, which are expected to commence on 1 July 2023, include:

Find out more about the stage two reforms.

These reforms changed various pieces of legislation, including:


ACT Government is now implementing the reforms under the Amendment Act and preparing information for stakeholders to assist in understanding the new requirements.

Work will then continue on other reforms, which will consider broader 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.

1 November 2020

The Unit Titles Legislation Amendment Act 2020 commenced, with some reforms taking immediate effect and others phased in over time.

1 July 2021 Transitional period ends (all reforms to take effect by this date).

21 March 2023

Second package of reforms introduced to the ACT Legislative Assembly as the Unit Titles Legislation Amendment Bill 2023.

1 July 2023 Stage two reforms commence.

How did we decide what to reform?

An industry and community consultative group worked with Government to guide the reforms.

Members of the consultative group include:

Who benefits?

The reforms 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, they apply 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 benefit owners, residents and business owners living and working in mixed-use developments and have flow on benefits for residential unit-titled sites. They 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

For enquiries about the rules that govern unit titled properties in the ACT, phone Access Canberra on 13 22 81.