New South Wales strata industry updates
The timeline below provides summaries of relevant industry updates that impact or may interest strata property owners and residents in New South Wales
John Minns has been appointed by the NSW Government as the state’s first Property Services Commissioner. He will work closely with the NSW Property Sevices Expert panel, which includes a PICA Group representative.
This is a welcome step in increasing industry standards for the benefit of strata property owners. The Property Services Commission’s model is likely to be similar to that of the Building Commissioner, which has improved building and development standards across the state.
As of 1 November, all strata property owners who rent their property as short term rental accommodation must be registered on the NSW Government STRA Register. Letting agents will not be able to advertise your property if it is not registered.
While all short term rental accommodation hosts must also comply with a specific set of fire and safety requirements, the deadline for this has been delayed to March 2022.
From 11 October 2021, paper Certificates of Title will be cancelled and replaced with digital certificates to facilitate a more efficient and secure conveyancing process and reduce the risk of delays. Your paper Certificate of Title will no longer be a legal document from this date.
Strata property owners will not need to do anything to transition to a digital Certificate of Title — your details are already recorded in the Torrens Register and are guaranteed by the State of NSW.
Registrations for Project Remediate, the NSW Government’s program to remove and replace combustible cladding on strata properties, will be open until 30 September 2021
This program will support eligible strata properties and their owners with a 10-year interest-free loan to remove and replace problematic cladding. The program will also assist with ensuring the quality of the new cladding and managing the remediation project as well.
Around 60 strata properties have currently registered for this project and started to have their cladding assessed.
If your property has combustible cladding, you can register for this program via the link below.
In a win for all Australians, a majority of state and territory Building Ministers have agreed to a national minimum standard in the draft of the National Construction Code 2022. These reforms are designed to ensure 50% of homes will have minimum accessibility features suitable for the elderly and those living with a disability, which are considered “silver level” by Livable Housing Australia. This includes seven key design elements:
- A safe, step-free path from the street entrance or parking areas to the home’s entrance
- At least one step-free entrance to the home
- Internal doors and corridors that allow unobstructed movement between spaces
- An accessible toilet on the ground or entry-level
- A bathroom with a shower recess
- Walls around the toilet, shower and bath that allow for the installation of grab rails
- Stairways that are designed to reduce the likelihood of injury, which can be adapted later if need be.
While upfront costs or these design elements will likely only cost around 1% of total building costs, they will cost around 20 times more to be retrofitted.
These new standards are slated to change the way strata property common areas are designed and constructed in the future.
The NSW Government has approved a Professional Standards Scheme, which is the first of its kind for the strata industry in Australia.
The scheme has been approved for an initial period of five years, commencing from 1 July 2021. This approval means our business must adhere to a Code of Ethics including professional standards, and is monitored by Professional Standards Australia.
This scheme aims to further commit to high professional standards in the strata industry across New South Wales.
The Professional Standards Scheme will bring to our customers a range of benefits, including:
- The SCA (NSW) will oversee and self-regulate the conduct of all members within a structured professional framework.
- In addition to our internal complaints handling process, the Professional Standards Scheme brings a further robust and independent complaints handling process, ensuring clients can be assured of an independent review and response.
- An increase in Continual Professional Development (CPD) requirements for Strata Managers and Licensee’s in Charge, ensuring the industry remains up to date, educated and aware of their on-going responsibilities to the consumer.
We are committed to supporting the strata industry, contributing to the overall improvement, and providing an excellent customer experience. The introduction of the Professional Standards Scheme will assist us in meeting these goals for our customers.
July 2021: PICA Group named finalist for SCA NSW awards
We’re pleased to announce that PICA Group has been confirmed as a finalist at the 2021 Strata Community CHU Awards, and is in the running for two awards. PICA Group has been nominated for the Excellence in Innovation Award, and Sarah Hogg, Regional General Manager North Shore, Central Coast and North Coast, has been nominated for the Essay Award. Congratulations to Sarah and the PICA Group team!
While the awards ceremony was due to be held in July, it has been postponed to later in the year due to Greater Sydney being placed in lockdown.
July 2021: Fax numbers to be retired
While using a fax machine may seem old-fashioned, we’ve been holding onto it for some customers. However, from 30 July 2021, we will be retiring our fax numbers. You can now email firstname.lastname@example.org with any documents you may have usually faxed through to us
June 2021: Expert findings reveal four safe cladding products
Finally, there’s some relief for property owners — a panel consisting of experts in fire safety, engineering, construction and insurance has recommended four safe cladding products for high-risk residential buildings in New South Wales.
The products are:
- Solid aluminium panels installed with cavity barriers and fire-proof mechanical fixings
- Solid metal sheets installed with cavity barriers and fire-proof mechanical fixings
- Fibre cement panels installed with cavity barriers and fire-proof mechanical fixings
- Non-combustible cement render.
Further safe cladding product options may be announced after rigorous independent testing has been completed in the coming months.
As part of Project Remediate, the government expects to begin the assessment and project design phases for the first 30 high-risk buildings by July. It aims to begin removing combustible cladding from these buildings by late 2021.
June 2021: Conveyancing process due to go online this year
The New South Wales Government plans to enact new laws to digitise certificates of title and mandate e-conveyancing. This is expected to reduce delays and stresses regarding property transactions and prevent lost and fraudulent paper titles.
June 2021: Our Customer Care Centre is here to assist you
Our Customer Care Centre was first introduced during COVID-19 to ensure accessibility into our branch staff while providing continuity of service when it was needed the most. Due to positive feedback, customers will now have access to this service permanently.
We are currently working on improving the service, so that customers can receive both immediate assistance and fast resolution on a broader range of important strata property matters, including:
- Levy queries
- Meeting notices
- Document requests
- Setting up direct debits and refunds
- Providing a certificate of currency via your insurer
- Change of address and contact details
- StrataVote access
- CommunityHub access.
Our Customer Care Centre can be reached on 1300 889 227 or email@example.com.
Wayne Walker, PICA Group’s CEO, will be joining business, government and community leaders across Australia in participating in the CEO Sleepout on 17 June. The CEO Sleepout is an annual event to raise money for people experiencing homelessness. Every dollar raised will go to Vinnies’ not-for-profit services, including food, accommodation, education, counselling, employment and health programs. So far, Wayne has raised $12,650 for Vinnies. If you would like to support Wayne in his goal of breaking the devastating cycle of homelessness, you can donate via the link below.
May 2021: Katy Kelly sprints closer to Tokyo Paralympics
Katie Kelly and her para-triathlon team, who PICA Group proudly sponsor, have come one step closer to qualifying for the Tokyo Paralympics. She came first in the Yokohama test event held in May. This is a phenomenal achievement, which is a testament to the hard work she has put in over the last few months. Congratulations Katie, we are all so proud of you!
The New South Wales Government recently announced a new regulatory framework for short-term rental accommodation, which was due to become effective in July 2021. This has now been delayed to 1 November 2021 to ensure those affected have ample time to familiarise themselves with the new regulations.
The regulatory framework is due to cover the following areas:
- A new planning framework
- Fire safety standards for short-term rental accommodation
- A government register for short-term rental accommodation.
Until it becomes effective, local councils will continue to regulate short-term rental accommodation.