Strata Reform for mixed-use developments

The Strata Reform Project is considering the issues surrounding the development, operation and management of mixed-use developments. A mixed-use development is where residential and commercial operations coexist under a single building envelope or unit title. (For example, a shopping centre and restaurant may be located on the ground floor of a complex, the second floor provides for public parking and the upper floors are residential premises).

Why is the Strata Reform Project occurring?

Mixed-use developments are becoming more commonplace to enable active urban communities where people can live and work together. However, the current legislation governing unit titles is complex, interconnected and outdated with regards to supporting mixed-use development. A fairer and more equitable approach to enhance the liveability and future innovation of these buildings is required.

What are some of the key areas for reform?

To date, the Strata Reform Project has identified three major areas for reform within mixed-use developments, namely:

  • updating governance and management frameworks for new and existing developments
  • reviewing administrative procedures, and
  • changing planning and design requirements to cater for different types of mixed-use developments.

What legislation is involved?

Some of the legislation regulating mixed-use developments which may require amendment includes:

Some of the reform options may also involve policy or administrative changes to current processes and procedures.

How do other States and Territories deal with mixed-use?

Western Australia and New South Wales have conducted reviews and reforms involving mixed-use developments. Queensland held public consultations in late 2017 concerning their review of property, body corporate and community titles legislation. The directorate is assessing those reviews to establish whether they would provide suitable examples for ACT strata reforms.

How long will this project take?

The Strata Reform Project has been underway since July 2016, with initial consultation, research and project development taking place. However, we are now looking to progress the project to the next phase and are assessing how the changes to relevant legislation, policies and procedures will take place.  As the issues affecting mixed-use developments are complex and interconnected, additional work is also required to assess how amendments to strata legislation will complement other ACT Government projects currently underway such as the ACT Building Regulatory System Review. In view of this work, the Strata Reform Project is aiming to introduce legislative amendments by the end of 2019.

To ensure that amendments to strata laws are well structured and effective, the project will approach the reforms in two stages:

Stage One:

Effective legislative amendments that can be achieved in the short term to address discrete, self-contained practical issues including budgets, metering, decision making and day to day administrative procedures. Stage one legislative reforms proposed to be introduced to the Legislative Assembly by the end of 2019.

Stage Two:

Substantial changes to relevant legislation and require further analysis to ensure their viability and efficacy. These are issues such as planning and design matters that are subject to further research and consultation prior to any proposed amendments being implemented. Stage two legislative reforms proposed to be introduced to the Legislative Assembly by the end of 2020.

As the issues affecting mixed-use developments are complex and interconnected, additional work is also required to assess how amendments to strata legislation will complement other ACT Government projects currently underway such as the ACT Building Regulatory System Review and the Territory Plan Review.

Who is involved?

The directorate is managing the project in consultation with other relevant areas of Government, as well as key industry stakeholders and the community. To date, the directorate’s consultation with stakeholders has focused on identifying major issues with the planning, management and the governance of mixed-use developments.

A new consultative group will be convened early in the new year to help refine the issues that the project will address in stage one as well as help develop the matters for stage two. The group will consist of members drawn from strata industry and community stakeholders.

The directorate will also pursue further engagement more broadly with the public as the project progresses.

How can I contribute?

In addition to the consultation with stakeholders and formation of the new consultative group, the directorate will be undertaking further public consultation as the project progresses on proposed solutions to issues raised, so stay tuned to this website.

Where can I get further information?

Further information will become available on this website page. Register your interest in future information and updates by emailing StrataReform@act.gov.au.

Read more about the ACT Building Regulatory System Review here.

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