The Origins of Sydney Strata Schemes


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Did you know that the strata title is actually an Australian invention? This modern method of co-ownership is used all over the world, but the concept had a very pragmatic beginning right here in New South Wales.

The problems of pre-strata shared ownership

Prior to the existence of strata titles there were limited ways to sell and own apartments in blocks. These were typically company titles, tenancy in common titles and co-operative titles.

There were a few issues with these forms of title. Insurance was difficult to assess and pay out when it came to damage or destruction of shared buildings. Banks and financiers were often hesitant to finance mortgages because there was no set real estate to use as security via co-operative and company titles.

The launch of strata living in Australia

These concerns eventually saw a strata titles law being drafted in 1960, which led to the Conveyancing (Strata Titles) Act 1961 being passed in New South Wales. Australia’s first strata property was in Burwood in Sydney’s Inner West. Other states and territories followed suit with their own strata legislation in the years following, and the model was expanded throughout commercial spaces and retirement villages.

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Reiterations of NSW strata legislation

New South Wales strata schemes have seen several major iterations of legislation with smaller Acts passed between these. Following on from the original Act in 1961, the 1973 Strata Titles Act and Regulations enabled the ownership of a unit within a shared space, providing greater reassurance for financiers. The Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 brought in new by-laws, definitions, increased insurance requirements and clearer dispute resolution processes. The most recent change to strata legislation came into effect just last year with the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015. This Act introduced a number of new and modern reforms, addressing pet ownership, nuisance smoking, unauthorised parking, a building bond scheme to pay for defects and overcrowding in strata units amongst other improvements.

Strata in 2017 and beyond

Our humble Australian strata model is now used in various forms in Canada, New Zealand, India, Fiji, Malaysia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and South Africa. No doubt, the legislation will continue to evolve to meet and enhance the lifestyles of those living in strata. Jamesons Strata Management has proudly been around for 54 years of strata history since our doors opened in 1963, making us one of the most experienced strata managing agents in Sydney and across Australia.

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