On 28 August 2018, the Strata Titles Amendment Bill 2018 (80 of 2018) [WA] ("the Strata Bill") reached second reading stage in the WA Legislative Council. Earlier, on 23 August 2018, its associated piece of legislation, the Community Titles Bill 2018 (the CT Bill), passed the WA Legislative Assembly and is due for introduction into the WA Legislative Council. Together the two Bills are said by the WA Government to usher in ". . . a new era of certainty for strata owners and buyers while providing an opportunity for developers to invest in new types of strata".
In a media release dated 28 June 2018, the Minister for Transport Planning and Lands, the Hon Rita Saffioti BBus MLA (the Minister) said:
There are four key areas of reform dealt with in the Strata Bill.
1. Making strata better
Under this area there is a comprehensive list of changes, some of which are as follows:
2. A new form of land ownership – Leasehold strata titles schemes
The Strata Bill also introduces a new form of tenure or land ownership to Western Australia, known as a leasehold scheme. A leasehold scheme is essentially a strata/survey-strata scheme created for a fixed period. A leasehold scheme operates under the same governance framework as a freehold strata/survey-strata scheme with some variations. A leasehold scheme expires on the expiry day for the scheme. Each lot in a leasehold scheme is subject to a registered strata lease. Each strata lease expires on the expiry day of the leasehold scheme. The owner of the land on which a leasehold scheme is created (by registration of the scheme) is referred to as the owner of the leasehold scheme
3. Making the Act easier to understand by modernising the language
Many of the changes in the Strata Bill do not change the underlying concepts but will result in the Act being much easier to understand. Changes are as follows:
4. Relocating provisions of the Act so that it easier to navigate
The Strata Bill will substantially reorder sections of the current Act and according to the Minister, will provide greater clarity so that large general principles are dealt with early, and similar concepts are addressed together.
The purpose of the CT Bill is to introduce a new form of land tenure to Western Australia which provides for the subdivision of land by a community scheme, the creation of community titles, and the governance and operation of community schemes.
The key difference to the Strata Titles Act 1985 is that the Act does not permit more than one scheme to be created on a single parcel of land. The CT Bill will permit a single parcel of freehold land to be subdivided in a way that creates up to three tiers of schemes in the one community scheme. Each scheme in the community scheme will have its own community corporation established on registration of the scheme by the Registrar of Titles.
The CT Bill sets out the legislative framework and key components of a community scheme by providing for a new form of land subdivision where each lot in a community scheme will have a share in the common property of not only the community titles scheme to which that lot belongs, but also a share in the common property of those community titles schemes to which that lot’s scheme belongs.
The CT Bill relies on the existing planning and development framework under the Planning and Development Act 2005 for the approval of community schemes and provides for the creation of a unique planning instrument, to be known as a “community development statement”, as a prerequisite for the creation of a community scheme. A community development statement will set out in detail the planning requirements for the scheme: including:
A community development statement must be approved by the Western Australian Planning Commission.
As already indicated the two Bills are close to passing through both houses of the WA Parliament. Another Bill that forms part of the package is the Community Titles Amendment (Consistency of Charging) Bill 2018 which would amend the the CT Bill to impose certain fees prescribed under that CT Bill to the extent that those fees are a tax and as such cannot be done directly in the main CT Bill. The Community Titles Amendment (Consistency of Charging) Bill 2018 has also reached second reading stage in the Legislative Council.
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Strata Titles Amendment Bill 2018 WA and supporting speeches and explanatory materials as reported in the TimeBase LawOne Service
Community Titles Bill 2018 WA and Community Titles Amendment (Consistency of Charging) Bill 2018 and supporting speeches and explanatory materials as reported in the TimeBase LawOne Service
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