This article is about SCA (WA)’s three key areas for reform at the 13 March state election.
SCA (WA), Western Australia’s peak body for strata title property management outlined three key areas for reform at the 13 March election that will deliver for consumers in the rapidly growing sector – a strata helpline, greater certification on new buildings and an abolition of stamp duties for strata insurance.
Approximately 300,000 Western Australians live in strata titled properties and the proportion of people living in strata schemes is increasing year-on-year as more people choose to live in apartments, townhouses and similar properties.
The rapid growth of strata titled properties in Western Australia has created the need for new, innovative measures by governments attentive to emerging consumer needs and Western Australians were suffering from a lack of advice.
Priority One – Create a dedicated strata helpline
What SCA (WA) is asking for is for the government to offer greater government-funded advice services for the 300,000 people who live in strata.
The issues facing consumers for strata can be complex, and consumers deserve to be offered support by the government, as they do similarly with helplines for other services, industries and needs.
Priority Two – Improve consumer protection from building defects
Consumer protection from building defects needed urgent attention, new legislation and innovative thinking.
A pilot study1 published in late 2019 showed that 40 to 50 per cent of defects arise in the construction phase and that even more concerningly, most defects involve water ingress into buildings.
A few simple changes including increased building certifications on water membrane and concrete professionals and processes could prevent these costly and dangerous defects.
SCA (WA) is also calling for the requirement for warranties and insurance from buildings up to three storeys to be extended to all buildings to increase accountability of builders and developers.
Priority Three – Take action to make strata insurance more available and affordable
Strata insurance has been getting harder to obtain and more and more unaffordable for many Western Australians, particularly in the North of the state.
In North WA strata owners are now not only competing against premiums that have more than tripled in some cases, but many are also struggling to find insurance at all.
The ACCC inquiry into insurance in Northern Australia recommended governments provide immediate relief by abolishing stamp duties, and we are calling on the Western Australian government to follow their recommendation to abolish stamp duties on strata insurance in North WA.
The 2021 Election Priorities Summary:
- Create a strata helpline to properly deliver timely and accurate advice to the more than 300,000 consumers grappling with complex strata issues. The helpline should be a joint venture between government and SCA (WA) with the goal of being self-funding after an initial three-year trial period.
- Improve consumer protection from building defects by adopting measures to license or better regulate professionals involved with pouring concrete slabs and applying water membrane, as well as increasing the requirement for housing indemnity insurance to include all buildings, irrespective of height.
- Take action to make strata insurance available and affordable for all Western Australians, particularly those living in North WA who in particular struggle to obtain policies.
Read the full SCA (WA) election priorities here.
This post appears in Strata News #450.
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About Strata Community Association (WA)
The Strata Titles Institute of WA (STIWA) now known as Strata Community Association WA (SCA WA), was born in 1989 due to some passionate individuals who determined the need for a unified industry body to bring about understanding, awareness and uniformity in the Strata Industry. The ‘Industry Body’ should also when necessary provide representation to Government on whatever amendments may be required to the Strata Titles Act.
The aim of SCA WA is to:
- provide a structure and forum for better communication between regions
- enhance the responsibilities of industry members in a nationally consistent manner
- enable representation at a national level to the Department of Education, Science and Training and other statutory bodies
- The Deakin Report Examining Building Defects in Residential Multi-owned Properties
- WA: Q&A What strata insurance do I need?
- WA: Assisting a New Strata Company Dealing With Construction Defects
Looking for strata information concerning your state? For state-specific strata information, take a look here.