I live in an old strata building and it is not worth repairing. Two years ago it was agreed amongst the Tenants to obtain a DA, which has been approved, however now two of the owners have gone back on the idea and are preventing the re-development from going ahead. What type of Legal Advice should we be receiving?
The problem you are experiencing is one that has been recognised by the New South Wales Government in their recent Strata Title Law Reform Position Paper. According to this Position Paper the current strata title laws have become outdated and are operating as an obstacle to the re-development of older buildings.
The current strata laws
Under the current strata title laws it is only possible to terminate a strata scheme in the following ways:
- 100% of owners apply to the Registrar General for the termination of the scheme. As you have discovered this means that one or two owners can stop re-development from going ahead. Since 1961 only 826 strata schemes out of the 72,000 strata schemes in New South Wales have been terminated by the Registrar General; or
- Applying to the Supreme Court for termination orders. Since 1961, only 5 strata schemes out of the 72,000 strata schemes in New South Wales have been terminated by the Supreme Court.
The proposed new strata laws
Under the proposed strata laws the following steps need to be followed prior to re-development
- Over 50% of owners need to agree to opt-in to considering a re-development proposal;
- If over 50% of owners agree to opt-in, the proposal is then submitted to the strata committee for consideration. If the strata committee agrees that the proposal is attractive they will call a general meeting of owners;
- At the general meeting a strata renewal committee will be elected to investigate the proposal and develop a plan;
- All owners will have 60 days to consider the plan proposed by the strata renewal committee; and
- If more than 75% of owners support the plan then an application can be made for the strata scheme to be terminated.
What type of Legal Advice do you need?
You need to seek legal advice from a lawyer who is up-to-date in strata law and well-versed in the current strata scheme laws as well as the proposed strata scheme laws. This will allow you to consider whether it would be best to make an application to have the strata scheme terminated now, or whether it is best to wait for the new legislation to be passed by the New South Wales Parliament.
A lawyer experienced in this area will be able to advise you of the impact of the changes on your current DA and whether the proposed strata scheme laws will assist you in continuing with the intention to re-develop the property.
If you are an owner of a strata title property and wish to re-develop it you need to speak to a lawyer well-versed in strata title law. To understand your legal obligations or obtain advice on how to re-develop a strata property call Barwick Boitano today on
(02) 9630 0444 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment.
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