The latest news out of NSW Fair Trading depends very much on whether you are an optimist or a pessimist.
The former will be delighted to hear that the state government is listening to the more than one million people in NSW who own or rent apartments.
The pessimists among us will note that the submissions on possible changes to our strata laws will be open until March next year.
Add on the time for our collective views to be considered, collated, concocted into policy documents and then released for public and stakeholder response and you are looking at late next year at the very earliest before the law is upgraded.
Meanwhile, conspiracy theorists will note that “stake-holders” have, for several months now, been bending Better Regulation policy wonks’ ears with their thoughts on how the laws could and should be changed.
But let’s look on the bright side. Strata owners and residents are being invited to have their say on how laws can be changed to improve life for the growing number of people living and working in strata communities.
In a press release issued this week Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson said community consultation was now open as part of the statutory review of both the Strata Schemes Development Act 2015 and Strata Schemes Management Act 2015.
“With the continued surge in popularity of apartment living we expect over half the population of Greater Sydney to be living in strata titled apartment towers, townhouses and blocks of flats by 2040,” Mr Anderson said.
“There are now 81,717 strata schemes registered in NSW and every year this number grows by more than 1,000 across both Sydney and regional NSW.
“It is important that the laws covering strata living stay relevant and address some of the fundamental issues that might be stopping people from fulfilling the great Australian dream of home ownership.
“The Government’s landmark 2015 reforms modernised strata living, but we know there is more to do. In particular, we know more needs to be done to ensure that apartment buildings are well maintained and remain free of building defects over their lifetime so that owners aren’t left out of pocket by tens of thousands of dollars.
“That’s why we will be seeking feedback on changes that would require owners to disclose critical information about programmed maintenance, capital works spending and defects.”
Mr Anderson said feedback was also being sought on a new digital Strata Portal that will capture mandatory information for each strata building in NSW and make it available to the regulator to ensure compliance with fire and other important safety requirements.
“Strata schemes are integral to supporting NSW’s growing population and housing boom. As more and more people choose to call NSW home, strata living holds the key to encouraging growing cities and urban development which is why this review is so important to ensure we make strata living more appealing,” Mr Anderson said.
You can have your say by visiting this website. Submissions close Sunday, 7 March 2021.