Property developers will be more clearly defined through the upcoming strata reforms and have more accountability to the strata company.
Under the changes, a developer is defined as:
- either the original owner of land to be subdivided by a strata scheme or
- the owner or owners of strata lots subdivided by a subdivision in a scheme to which staged subdivision by-laws apply.
What you need to know
- You will now be required to disclose to the strata company in writing:
- details of any remuneration or other benefits received or reasonably expected to be received by you or an associate as a result of committing the strata company to a contract for services, or any other contract, lease or licence.
- details of any other direct or indirect pecuniary interest you or an associate have in such contract, lease or licence.
- If this requirement is breached, the strata company may apply to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) for an order that you pay a specified amount to the strata company being the whole or part of the remuneration or benefit that you failed to disclose.
- You will need to retain all documents that come into your possession or control which are relevant to subdivision of the land by a strata titles scheme or amendment of the strata titles scheme (these are called key documents) and you must provide them to the strata company at the first Annual General Meeting (AGM). If any key document comes into your possession or control after that first AGM, you will have to give that document to the strata company.
- If you or an associate continue to be an owner in a strata scheme, you or the associate must be excluded from voting on a resolution about a defect in a scheme building or infrastructure on common property within 10 years of completion of the building or infrastructure.
Development, subdivision and planning:
- The new law will ensure the rights of lot owners, who have already bought into earlier stages of the strata titles scheme, and registered interest holders, are protected while making the process less cumbersome for property developers through greater flexibility in the staged development of strata and survey-strata schemes.
- For instance, there will be more flexibility in how much the plan of re-subdivision (under the Act called a type 4 subdivision) and schedule of unit entitlement can vary from the staged subdivision by-laws in the scheme by-laws (formerly set out in a management statement).
- In instances where the variation between the staged subdivision by-laws and the plan is significant (to be determined in the regulations), you will need to notify the people with a designated interest (defined in the Act) of the proposed variation. People with a designated interest will have 60 days to respond to the proposed variation. If they do not respond within 60 days, they will be deemed to have consented to the proposed variation. If they object to the proposed variation, they must notify you within 60 days and provide written reasons for their objection.
- You will then be able to apply to the SAT to review the grounds of objection given by people with a designated interest. If SAT finds that the grounds for objection are unreasonable, they can make an order that the consent of that person with a designated interest is deemed to be given.
- If you have developed a ‘built’ strata scheme, you will need to apply to the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) (or the delegated local authority) for approval of a strata plan or amendment of a strata plan to give effect to a subdivision (subdivision has a defined meaning in the Act) in order to obtain titles. The WAPC (or the delegated local authority) can grant subdivision approval with or without conditions. The approval will lapse after two years if you have not applied to the relevant authority (WAPC or local government) for a certificate endorsing the strata plan or amendment with its unconditional approval of the strata plan or amendment.