Current Status of Legislation

Legislative Assembly

At the time this article was first written, the applicable Act was the Unit Titles Act 2001 and associated Regulations as amended by the Unit Title Amendment Act 2008 (repealed).  Subsequently it was largely superseded by the Unit Titles (Management ) Act and this is now is the principal Act for guidance of existing owners and Executive Committees.

The Acts may be viewed and/or downloaded (in .pdf or .doc format) from the ACT Government Legislation website (select Acts, Current, U, for the legislation, and Subordinate Laws, Current, U, for the Regulations).

The promised review

At the General Meeting on 14th March 2010, at which there were representatives of the Government as well as the Liberal and Greens parties, it was obvious that amongst members there was a lot of unease about many implications of the amended Act, due to come into force within a couple of weeks, with little hope of any political move to delay the commencement. However, shortly after (see Hansard, 26th March 2010), the then responsible minister, Simon Corbell, made an announcement in the Assembly that under prompting from the Greens, and others, the Government had agreed to prepare and distribute an information book to all unit owners about the operation of the amended Act. This would supplement the information being published on various government websites.

In the event, the ‘information book’ turned out to be one folded A4 flyer, issued by the Department of Justice and Community Safety (JACS), which contained no more (and arguably less) than already published on the various government websites.

However, the Minister also committed the Government to a review of the Act within 12-months with a view to further amendments to improve its operation.  The Government  then announced  the start of the review and  made a call for submissions with a closing date of Friday 29th October 2010, later extended a little.

There was little time left to prepare a detailed submission, but a dedicated group of Committee Members got stuck into it, producing a substantial document that reflected many of the outstanding concerns expressed by members over the year.

This submission was well received by the sponsoring government department (JACS), resulting in an invitation to participate in subsequent discussions.  This reflects the respect for the OCN as an effective representative group for owners corporations and individual owners.

We like to think that the feedback from our public meeting was at least partly instrumental in prompting these moves. We now hope for some positive outcomes and will be monitoring the process intently.

The new Unit Titles (Management) Act

This Act came into effect on 30th March 2012.  It is the view of the OCN that it is a considerable improvement on its predecessor and that it covers many of the points raised in the OCN submission to the review. It also introduces much new material, particularly that relating to the role and responsibilites  of Executive Committees and Strata Managers. The OCN generally welcomes the provisions of the new Act, however there is one glaring anomaly remaining, that relating to Sinking Funds.  The Act seems to prohibit the use of a sinking fund as an accumulation fund, which, in the OCN view, is exactly what they were set up for. We have made representations to the Government and will keep Members informed of the outcome.