21 October 2015
Long awaited strata reforms passed the lower House yesterday following years of advocacy from Clover Moore and me. People will no longer be able to control management through proxies with limits on the amount one person can hold and absent voting methods like Skype permitted. Owner corporations will be able to pass a by-law to ban overcrowding, although I argued this should be mandatory.
Obtaining enough evidence for an order remains a problem and the minister reiterated his commitment to work with me to deliver further reforms that stop overcrowding. Residents subject to smoke in their homes from other apartments or common property will be able to take action at the tribunal and there will be more opportunities for renters to get involved in the management of buildings. I welcomed the new developer bond of two per cent of contract prices that can be used for rectification if an independent inspector identifies defects. The bill will likely pass the upper House given multi-partisan support however it is not clear when it will become law.
Unfortunately, these vital reforms were packaged with another bill which I strongly opposed. The government is pushing a new model to terminate strata schemes with the agreement of only 75 per cent of owners – currently it must be unanimous. Vulnerable people could be forced from their homes and priced out of their neighbourhoods to profit developers and other owners. The Land and Environment Court must approve all terminations which provides some safeguards but I am not confident that that is enough. It is not clear whether this bill will pass the upper House.
My speech is HERE.