Podcast: Why strata law changes are such a painfully long time coming


When it comes to strata law reform, it can be a long time between drinks.

Victoria is just at the end of the public consultation stage of their very substantial reforms to their strata laws and they still have a long way to go.  It will be interesting to see how many of the proposed changed in their draft reform Bill actually make it on to the statute book.

We have predicted two years until they see any changes, but it could be less, given that they are notionally updating the existing Act rather than starting from scratch with a new one.  More realistically, it could be more.

Take as an example the forgotten law that will have a profound effect on strata living in NSW: the Short Term Holiday Letting law proposals – or the Airbnb laws to name them after the business model that prompted them.

We have just heard on the grapevine that the new short-term letting laws could be proclaimed as early as next month

The development of that new legislation began back in June 2015, prompted by concerns from Balmain Greens MP Jamie Parker that his constituents were being threatened with $1 million fines for running illegal bed and breakfasts, taking bookings through this new-fangled online internet booking system called Airbnb which purported to be encouraging “sharing”.

A committee looking into the “Adequacy of the the Regulation of Short-Term Holiday Letting in NSW” started hearing public, business and local government submissions in 2016, and issued a report in 2017.

That was pretty much tossed out in early 2018 and replaced by a more Airbnb-friendly proposal in late 2018 which was then, at the last minute, canned in favour of the only laws in Australia that allow apartment blocks to decide not to allow short-term holiday lets via by-laws.

So that went to Parliament and was approved, subject to a mandatory code of conduct.  The law awaits proclamation (meaning it’s a law rather than just a good idea)  because the code still to be agreed upon.  Meanwhile a round table of vested interests arm wrestles over what constitutes good or bad conduct.

We have just heard on the grapevine that they could happen as early as next month but that would still mean the laws were more than four years in the making. It’s very hard not to reach the conclusion that certain self-interested bodies have no desire to see these laws enacted any sooner, as they could seriously hamper their business model.

I mention this because that is one aspect of one law related, in part, to strata living.  The Victorians have until May 10 to give the government their two cents worth on their proposals, which cover a huge variety of issues across the whole spectrum of their strata laws.

Then that has to be considered, chewed, digested and, eventually, presented again as a concrete proposal after the various major and minor players have flexed their political powers in efforts to protect their vested interests.

Two years?  Victorians should be so lucky.

You can here the Flat Chat podcast about some of the proposed strata law changes here:



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