Gaining control — what you can do under the new strata renewal legislation
Although Part 10 of the Strata Schemes Development Act 2015 commenced on 30 November 2016 (Part 10), the intricacies of the technical workings of Part 10 have still not been fully tested or considered by the Courts.
This is testament to the fact that Part 10 requires a lengthy, convoluted and highly technical process to be implemented by an owners corporation to ensure the Land and Environment Court of NSW has the power to make orders giving effect to a ‘collective sale’ or ‘redevelopment’ of its strata scheme.
Only a handful of matters have actually reached the Courts and a final hearing is yet to take place, with only a few reported interlocutory decisions on Part 10 being published to date.
How can you make Part 10 work for you?
If you are an owner of a lot or multiple lots in a strata scheme or are intending on buying up multiple lots in a strata scheme, even if you do not hold over 75% of the lots and unit entitlements in the strata scheme, you can still form a ‘bloc’ in the scheme to gain some control over how a vote will be cast on motions relating to any potential collective sale of the whole strata scheme.
The magic ’25%’
If you or a group of owners hold more than 25% of unit entitlements in a strata scheme, you or the group of owners will have the ultimate control over any attempt of a different buyer to purchase the whole strata scheme.
Without the support and vote of the ‘owners’ bloc’, the special resolution required to approve the distribution of a strata renewal plan to the lot owners for consideration will not be achieved, effectively blocking the purchase.
Having this level of control means that you have the power to either support or block a purchase of all lots in the scheme. It may be in yours or the group’s best interests to support a vote and this can be decided as a group prior to the general meeting at which the vote will be cast, but if it is not in your best interests at the point in the process when a ‘special resolution’ is required, you will be in a position to block this resolution.
The magic ’75%’
There has been much talk about the threshold of 75% support needed for Part 10 orders to be successfully applied for under Part 10.
Putting aside the multiple steps required to be able to bring such application in the first place, the ’75% threshold’ test has caught a few people out and it is important to note that there are two thresholds to achieve during the process.
The first is a special resolution (ie owners holding not more than 25% of unit entitlements voting against a resolution at a general meeting of an owners corporation) being passed and secondly, Support Notices in the prescribed form being received from owners of more than 75% of the lots in the strata scheme.
These two thresholds can vary substantially depending on the configuration of lots and unit entitlements.
Part 10 provides the mechanism for achieving results and for those willing to see it out, the outcomes could certainly be profitable. Whilst I have no doubt that there will be a decision in the future which will provide some guidance to those following behind, this may still be some time away.
In the meantime, under a tailored agreement with like-minded people you can achieve a unified goal in your strata scheme. You can take steps now to protect your interests.