Victorian owners corporation industry updates
The timeline below provides summaries of relevant industry updates that impact or may interest owners corporation property owners and residents in Victoria.
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 will lead the way for 50% of homes to have minimum accessibility features suitable for the elderly and those living with a disability. They will include 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 for these design elements will likely only total 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 owners corporation property common areas are designed and constructed in the future.
July 2021: Fax number 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 email@example.com with any documents you may have usually faxed through to us.
As a COVID-19 precaution, all owners corporations must use the Victorian Government QR service, or a digital record-keeping service linked to the Victorian Government Application Programming Interface, to keep records of visitors (including contractors and service providers) to common and shared areas.
June 2021: Our Customer Care Centre is here to support 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: Katie 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!
More than 100 changes to renting regulations have been introduced, which aim to make renting fairer and safer in Victoria. The legislative update focuses on the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and renters, and the changes are applicable for every rental agreement’s lifespan.
Key changes impacting owners corporation property owners who rent out their lot include:
- Landlords must inform tenants if the property is on the market for sale or is being repossessed
- Landlords must provide tenants with at least one fee-free option for paying rent
- Renters must be given one free set of keys and security passes
- Landlords can only terminate a rental agreement if they provide a valid reason— they can no longer issue a “no specified reason” notice to vacate
- Landlords must ensure their property meets minimum rental standards. If it doesn’t, the renter can terminate the rental agreement.