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What an exciting start to the year for ESM Strata!

Last month, 80 council members joined us for our first Council of Owners information night for 2020. The theme of the night was centred around the Strata Titles Amendment Act 2018, specifically focusing on the changes that will affect council members once the act comes into effect.

As the new act is expected to be proclaimed on the 1st of May, the night was the perfect opportunity for council members to be proactive, ensuring they are up to speed on the new legislation and ask any questions about the upcoming changes. For those who missed the opportunity to attend, we have included the questions asked by attendees below.

A special mention goes to our ESM Relationship team and speakers who worked hard to put together a night which in our opinion and based on the feedback from the attendees was a huge success.

Amongst many other new and exciting initiatives, ESM will be hosting ongoing Council of Owners information nights throughout the year. If you are interested in attending future ESM events please register your details by clicking the following link:

COO night Q&A

  1. When does the 10-year maintenance plan need to be in place?

12 months from the proclamation. It is then tabled for acceptance at the next AGM and then revised every five years after that for the next 10-year period.

  1. Is there a transition period following the implementation of STAA 2018?

There are multiple transition periods. Some notable ones are:

  • Consolidated by-laws – by-laws will only need to be consolidated when the strata company makes, amends or repeals a by-law. It is an ESM recommendation that SC seek legal advice for consolidation
  • Governance and conduct by-law changes – immediate effect
  • Financial year defined by by-laws or standard 30 June adopted – 5 years after commencement
  • Strata managers contract – 6 months after commencement
  • Strata manager education – 4 years after commencement
  • Council of owner requirements – immediate effect
  1. Will the amended STA trigger a change of Unit Entitlement?

No, this will still require an appropriate resolution.

  1. Strata Manager can’t sign docs – what about employing/ engaging contractors?

Strata Managers can still do this upon instruction from the Council Members. For contracts, we recommend that any contracts are signed by a member of CoO, not by the Strata Manager.

  1. Chairperson is this permanent -for a term? 

This hasn’t changed, Chairperson is still elected until the next AGM unless they, resign, sell, becomes deceased, or is removed from office.

Further, does the change practice from when we ask the ESM manager to chair a meeting?

No, as the Strata Manager is elected to the position of the Chairperson for the duration of that general meeting only. Strata Manager cannot chair a council meeting, as council meetings must be chaired by a proprietor.

  1. New rule on dissolving a Strata Company with 80% owner and how the process works.

The Landgate website explains the new process for termination of schemes. Click here to get to the site.

  1. Insurance – Firewall claims where do we stand in relation to firewalls for instance on a complex 30 years plus old – have other properties experienced firewall issues?

This is likely to be case-specific to the strata plan, the age of the building, and insurance PDS – seek specialist advice.

  1. Insurance – unit being used for short-stay should this be declared when renewing policy – would this influence the premium?

Short-stay/ Air BnB is likely to increase the use of common facilities, and general traffic throughout the building. It also increases liability risk at the building and will increase the premium – ESM always recommends that the Strata Company disclose this information to the insurer immediately.

  1. Is SAT prepared to handle the expected increase in workload associated with matters that will be referred to it as a result of the STAA 2018 changes?

15 or so years ago, there was one Strata Titles Referee – this position was made redundant, and all queries were then to be submitted to SAT. The industry at the time had anticipated that there would be delays due to this, however, the transition was seamless. Our office has queried this directly with SAT and has been advised that they have been making arrangements to accommodate any changes to the legislation. SAT has certain service delivery standards that they need to meet, and they don’t anticipate that this will change when the amendment act is proclaimed.

  1. Can a Strata Company pass a bylaw or rules that unit are NOT permitted to be let as air BNB’s?

You can’t have a bylaw that restricts the usage of the lot. Also need to refer to local council bylaws as you can’t have a bylaw that contravenes local shire law. A lot of things need to be considered and legal advice case by case basis. Could it be considered unfair/ oppressive?

  1. How many proxies can one owner hold?  

It is not limited – it does specify that a Strata Manager may only hold a certain number of proxies – This amount to be fixed by the regulations.

  1. What redress does the Strata Company Have against loss or damage where the Strata Manager is at fault?

The Strata Management company must maintain professional indemnity insurance (under the amendment act), the minimum amount being $1 million.