More action needed on Qld strata laws

Hundreds of thousands of Queensland owners and stakeholders in the multi-billion dollar strata and communities title industry in Queensland have joined together for the first time to call on the State Government to speed up strata industry reform and self regulation.

There are over 400,000 unit owners throughout Queensland and the peak industry representative organisations say strata owners want government action on proposed new strata laws. The peak industry bodies for strata and community title management in Queensland have taken a groundbreaking step as one, to better the state’s fastest growing property sector.

Strata Community Australia (Qld), the Australian Resident Accommodation Managers’ Association (Qld) and the Owners Corporations’ Network (Qld) have formed a collaborative group to better serve the strata industry’s needs, in the face of Queensland’s biggest property review in decades.

“The Stakeholder Umbrella Group we have formed with ARAMA and OCN purely exists for the benefit of the industry, as typified by our joint submission to the Body Corporate Governance Options Paper regarding Queensland’s property law review,” Strata Community Australia (Qld) president, Simon Barnard said.

“It is positive to note that of the 29 questions posed to the industry in the options paper, we managed to come to a strong agreement on 27 of these.”

The group has been seeking responses from the state government on issues such as apartment overcrowding, the keeping of pets, smoking and illegal parking on strata and communities title premises.

By the year 2020, on current growth estimates, the Queensland strata industry will control a sector with a replacement building value of $150 billion; up from the current estimates placing it at just under $100 billion. “However, the prosperity of this sector will be severely damaged if stakeholder issues are not taken into account before the review,” Mr Barnard explains.

“The current status quo sees an excess of red tape within legislation governing strata title properties owned, managed or occupied by our members. What this effectively means is that strata management all across the state is limited in efficiently self regulating and applying tailored policies to its own buildings, to suit stakeholder needs.”

Mr Barnard said the industry wanted legislation in place so that individual bodies corporate could make their own decisions on a range of issues including overcrowding and bylaw compliance and enforcement.

“All of our efforts through this process revolve around the same goal; consumer protection. Consumer protection in strata starts with informing buyers adequately that they understand what community living really is, not what they think it is. Too often unit owners underestimate the emotional factor of living in a community, the democratic character of community living and the quite strict legislation.”

Strata Community Australia (Qld) says the strata sector has been waiting years for the changes and fully expects the new government to push through the legislation.

“New attorney-general, Yvette D’Ath, has previously indicated her support of increasing consumer protection so we are extremely hopeful that this commitment will extend to the 410,000 unit owners across the state.”

With much still left to achieve in finalising the state government’s property law review, this unification of Queensland’s most influential strata industry bodies has provided the industry’s managers, consumer and other stakeholders perhaps the most important the platform, one voice.

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