In New South Wales there are three Acts of Parliament which regulate strata. Together these actions are commonly called the 'strata schemes legislation'. The three acts are the Strata Schemes (Freehold Developement) Act 1973 (NSW) which commaced on 1 July 1974; the Strata Schemes (Leashold Development) Act 1986 (NSW) which commaced on 1 March 1989; and the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 (NSW) which commenced on 1 July 1997.
As of 30 June 2006 there were approximately 63,660 schemes in New South Wales, housing over one million people and it is expected that by 2020 over 50% of the residential population of Sydney will be housed in this type of accommodation. A freehold scheme is a scheme in which a person can buy ownership of a lot in the scheme, while a leasehold scheme does not allow a person to do this, rather permitting the person to buy a lease of a lot in the scheme.
As far as the management of the scheme is concerned, there are a number of functions which are given to the Director General of the Department of Commerce. The Director General's functions can be summarized as including 'firstly' a role of providing information and education. The act states that the Director General is to provide information to owners, occupiers, owners corporations, lessors of leashold schemes, managing agents and the public about the Act and services provided by the Director General. The Director General's reply to a letter concerning a query relating to a strata scheme may sometimes resolve a potential dispute, so saving both time and money for all concerned.
The act also states that the Director General is to arrange for the mediation of disputes or complaints within a scheme or, if they consent, for two adjoining strata schemes. Finally, the Director General may intervene in proceedings before the Tribunal if the Director General is of the opinion that it would be in the public interest to do so.
Having a practical working knowledge of the complex complex, its regulations and bylaws is essential for owners who wish participate in the day to day control, management and administration of a strata scheme. This knowledge will also help owners exercise effectively the rights and entitlements available to them. The first step in acquiring this knowledge knowledge is to be aware of the layout of the legislation.
The Act is divided into six chapters containing approximately 249 sections, four schedules and a dictionary. The Chapters deal firstly with what is considered 'preliminary'. It then deals with the management of strata schemes, then key management areas, then owners, occupiers and other persons with interests in the lots, then disputes and orders of adjudicators of tribunals, then administration of the act itself and then general matters.
This is only a brief summary of how the strata shcemes legislation operates in New South Wales. If you would like more information please do not hesitate to contact the author.