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Strata Titles Act Reform

Watch our video to see a snapshot of what strata reforms could mean for you.

The State Government has set strata reform as a key priority and Landgate has been tasked to deliver reforms to the Strata Titles Act 1985 (WA) (STA). The proposed reforms aim to ensure Western Australia has a modern Strata Titles Act to better meet the State's needs in light of future growth.

Reforms will help provide more flexible and sustainable housing options, to benefit developers, strata owners, investors, residents and tenants. They do not aim to change current strata owners’ land titles and boundaries, but do aim to improve the way strata schemes work.

LATEST NEWS February 2015

Strata reform update

The consultation period for Strata Titles Act Reform is now closed. A consultation paper was released and an online tool was used to receive submissions and feedback. The three-month public consultation was open from 31 October 2014 to 16 January 2015. Though the public consultation period is closed, you can still read the consultation paper.

The STA project team is now focused on collating and analysing the large amount of feedback received via public consultation. A consultation summary will be presented to the Minister for Lands and then shared publicly in the coming months.

What is changing?

The following areas are being investigated by the STA reform team, for their suitability and practicality:

Tenure Reform : propose to introduce community titles to allow for:

arrow    multiple levels of management for large-scale and/or mixed-use developments.

arrow    different schemes in one land parcel under an umbrella body corporate

arrow    multiple strata schemes in one building to manage different uses (residential, commercial, retail)

Also Leasehold titles to allow for:

arrow    Owners of freehold land to enter into long term lease arrangements with developers

arrow    Certificate of Titles to be produced for lease-hold titles, which is likely to enable better lending agreements

Vendor Disclosure:reforms will improve the materials that vendors of strata properties are required to give buyers before they sign the contract.

Dispute Resolution: currently strata disputes are dealt with in a number of forums (District Court, Supreme Court, Magistrate’s Court and the State Administrative Tribunal [SAT]) – reforms propose to make SAT the one-stop-shop for all strata disputes. This will be a more efficient and less costly process and is necessary if we are to have more people living and working in closer proximity.

Management of strata: reforms aim to clarify the role and functions of strata companies, strata councils and strata managers - promoting greater transparency and accountability. They also propose to develop a code of conduct to set industry standards.

Termination of schemes: to determine when to upgrade and replace old housing stock and develop a model to terminate strata schemes if 100% ownership agreement is not reached. Currently 100 per cent agreement between owners or a court order is required before a strata scheme can be terminated.

As the reforms are being progressed on a priority basis, any additional areas for improvement that are identified as part of the consultation may be considered. Due to the complexity of the reforms and short timeframe for implementing them however, it may not be possible to include additional items as part of this current program of reform.

arrow Reforms to the STA aim to create more choice and make shared living environments more attractive. It is then up to the industry to use these reforms to achieve this.

arrow Strata owners and managers will be more empowered and have access to more effective dispute resolution processes.

arrow Reforms are expected to attract and enable more developers to invest in WA.

arrow A more robust and modern STA will also ensure WA can better meet the State’s needs in light of future growth.

arrow These reforms are not aimed at changing current strata owners’ land titles and boundaries, but do aim to improve the way strata schemes work.

arrow Reforms will not change land titles or the boundaries of what you currently own in a strata scheme.

Why make changes?

Strata titles now comprise one third of new lots created in Western Australia, playing a significant role in providing flexibility in development as urban and rural land use changes to smaller lot sizes and multi-level apartment living. Land use in older urban areas is changing, with more multi-use developments resulting in land owners seeking innovative ways to subdivide and redevelop land.

Strata titling is an accepted process for residential, commercial and industrial land and has gained acceptance in both new and historic building renovation schemes, as well as in rural and resort developments. A subdivision under the STA gives the ability to build closer to boundaries, and the initial costs for a developer (e.g. power, water and gas) are substantially less than for a greenfields site under the Transfer of Land Act 1893. These factors make strata titles an attractive development option.

In recent decades, Western Australia has experienced sustained population growth and all indicators suggest this will continue. The key need is to provide flexible and sustainable housing options (able to be used as a security by lenders) for a population estimated to be at around 3.5 million by 2031. The State Government’s Directions 2031 target is for 121 000 dwellings of infill to be strata in the central Perth area.

This is proposed to be achieved with:

arrow more urban infill;
arrow increased density; and
arrow community living in mixed-use environments.

Increased community living and mixed-use developments mean more people living, working and undertaking a range of activities in closer proximity.

With the higher density nature of the living environment, sharing of common facilities and the mutual dependence of one lot on another in a strata scheme, the STA sets up processes and structures to cope with that environment and to promote harmonious co-existence. The STA standard bylaws ensure standards of behaviour, building maintenance and management are maintained.

Although the STA has served Western Australia well, the need for it to be updated has been known for some time, and Landgate has been pursuing meaningful reform with stakeholders, including the public. Now, more than ever, as the demand for strata as a viable development option to help address housing options increases, the need for a robust and suitable legislative framework to support strata in Western Australia is critical.

How are the reforms being progressed?

arrow developing discussion papers: in conjunction with key stakeholders, incorporating their feedback and also the lessons learned from other states

arrow conducting public consultation: all discussion papers developed on each area of reform were merged into a single consultation paper and then made available on the Strata Titles Act Reform webpage for public comment

arrow analysing submissions: summarising the outcomes of consultation

arrow preparing drafting instructions: to amend the Strata Titles Act 1985 (Act) and requesting Cabinet to approve the drafting of a Bill to amend the Act

arrow requesting Cabinet for the Bill to be printed: for introduction to Parliament

Government understands the scope of reforms being progressed is sizeable and that a collaborative effort with input from industry and government, is essential if they are to be delivered in a timely manner.

In addition to the changes that are needed to the STA, there are also major IT system, policy and business process changes required for Landgate, the Office of State Revenue and other agencies. Also, new processes for industry and the public will need to be implemented requiring extensive education and awareness raising efforts.

How have we consulted?

Our stakeholder engagement process has been ongoing for more than a year and followed a phased approach, to ensure we have proactively involved as many people as possible.

An initial phase of briefings and meetings with key stakeholders in Government and Industry was undertaken, and on some outstanding issues, is still ongoing.

A three-month public consultation was opened from 31 October 2014 to 16 January 2015 to receive feedback. Submissions were received via an online consultation tool, email and post or hand delivery to Landgate.

The STA reform team are also investigating the strata legislation and practices in other states: different models are in place in the different jurisdictions, each with varying levels of success. The aim is to learn from other jurisdictions, identifying what lessons can be applied to meet WA's needs.

The Strata Titles Act Reform team would like to acknowledge and thank the following stakeholders for their ongoing contributions to the reform process. This list continues to grow as the project progresses:

  Australian Institute of Conveyancers WA (AICWA)
  Allen Partners NSW
  ATCO Gas
  Atkinson Legal
  Australian Bankers Association
  Australian Property Institute
  Body Corporate Brokers (BCB)
  Building Commission (Dpt of Commerce)
  Cancer Council
  CHU Insurance
  Customer Service Council
  Department of Aboriginal Affairs
  Department of the Attorney General
  Department of Commerce
  Department of Finance – Office of State Revenue WA
  Department of Housing
  Department of Lands
  Department of Planning
  Department of Water
  Ernst & Young
  Exclusive Strata Management (ESM)
  Faculty of Law, QLD University of Technology
  Faculty of Law, NSW University of Technology
  Fair Trading NSW
  Fini Group of Companies
  Insurance Council of Australia
  Land and Property Information NSW
  Landgate SMEs
  Law Society of WA
  Catholic University of Australia Victoria
  LGA – City of Armadale
  LGA – City of Bayswater
  LGA – City of Belmont
  LGA – City of Perth
  LGA – City of Rockingham
  LGA – City of Stirling
  LGA – City of Swan
  Local Government Planners Association (LGPA)
  Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA)
  Planning Institute
  Property Council of Australia
  Real Estate Institute of Western Austrlia(REIWA)
  State Administrative Tribunal (SAT)
  Strata Community Austrlalia NSW
  Strata Community Australia VIC
  Strata Community Australia WA (SCAWA)
  Strata Unit Underwriters
  Surveying & Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI)
  Urban Development Institute of Australia(UDIA)
  WA Local Government Authority (WALGA)

Quote from UDIA’s Strata Titles Act Reform Submission Covering Letter (January 2015)

"UDIA commends Landgate on the comprehensive stakeholder engagement strategy over the life of this project and gives special acknowledgement to the project team which proactively engaged with industry to road test ideas and to gain clarity about the benefits and limitations that would be experienced in the application of the new Act.”

For any enquiries about Strata Titles Act Reform, please email to

Last updated on 25 February 2015

Western Australian Land Information Authority