Major changes to strata title came into effect in NSW this week. The successful passage of the Strata Schemes Development Bill means that a strata title apartment block can now be sold to a developer when 75% of owners agree to a sale, as opposed to 100%, as was previously the case.
While owners who are in effect ‘forced to move’ when such a sale takes place will be financially compensated, renters will simply lose their homes.
COTA NSW has approached the State Government to express our concern about the fate of renters who will be affected by these changes to strata title. The apartment blocks most likely to be affected by these laws tend to be among the few remaining affordable housing options in large metropolitan centres in NSW. Many of the renters affected by this law will be age pensioners, with one in five respondents to our 2014 consumer survey indicating they rented.
The State Government has not indicated they have a strategy in place to assist the people who will be negatively affected by their changes to strata law. In our view, the Government urgently needs to develop such a strategy, and this needs to occur in the context of a new approach to housing and planning policy, and co-ordination between Fair Trading, Planning, Local Government and Family and Community Services.
“The Government has a vision for renewing the State’s infrastructure to cope with NSW’s growing population,” says Ian Day, CEO of COTA NSW. “It defies belief there is no vision to address the State’s housing crisis. Instead, we see piecemeal policies implemented across all the portfolios with a stake in planning and housing. As a result, we see the continual erosion of people’s ability to access housing they can afford.”
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