HHG Legal Group’s Property team’s Special Counsel, Matthew Lilly and Dispute Resolution Associate, Patrick Beilby, explore the new Strata Title reforms and how buyers now have access to better information.
On 1 May 2020 a series of major reforms to the Strata Titles Act 1985 (WA) came into force providing for buyers to be better informed, improving strata management and providing for a more efficient dispute resolution process through the State Administrative Tribunal.
Before the reforms came into force, the Act only required sellers to provide a limited amount of information about the strata scheme or lot. Certain information need only be provided under certain circumstances, leaving buyers with limited information about the strata scheme they are buying into. The seller’s disclosure obligation was generally satisfied by ticking all the boxes in the old Form 28 Disclosure Statement.
However, amendments to the Act now require sellers to provide substantially more general information about the strata titles scheme and specific information about the lot that is the subject of the sale. The additional disclosures include providing:
- a reasonable estimate of contributions likely to be payable by the purchaser for the 12 months following settlement;
- the most recent statement of accounts or reasons why the statement could not be obtained;
- details of any debt owed to the strata company;
- minutes of the most recent Annual General Meeting and any subsequent Extraordinary General Meeting or reasons why the minutes could not be provided;
- full set of the scheme by-laws; and
- notice of any current termination proposal for the strata titles scheme.
Part 14 of the Strata Titles (General) Regulations 2019 (WA) further require sellers to disclose any restrictions on voting rights and other procedural requirements in complying with the disclosure requirements under the Act. For example, the Regulations state that where a staged subdivision by-law is spent, notice must be provided to the buyer and the information that must be included in the notice. Different notice requirements are also specified for the different types of notifiable variations.
The Precontractual Disclosure Statement to the Buyer has now replaced the Form 28 and Form 29 (Buying and Selling a Strata Titled Lot). This document has included most of the additional seller disclosure requirements and provides an easy to read checklist for both buyers and sellers. Real estate agents should now familiarise themselves with this new form and the additional requirements required by the amended Act to better advise their clients. Whilst the new form is fairly comprehensive, buyers and sellers should obtain legal advice to ascertain their rights and compliance with the Act and Regulations.
HHG Legal Group can assist
For over 100 years HHG Legal Group has been proudly serving Western Australian families, business and individuals. Never before has the State seen such a crippling time for many small businesses and we are committed to supporting the communities in which we operate.
If you require advice on your obligations as a seller or buyer, our Anne Hurley and Patrick Beilby will be able to assist you. Enquire now to book a virtual or face-to-face meeting with a property lawyer or call us on 1800 609 945.