perth cbd buildings
Management of new mixed-use buildings can benefit under the scheme. Image – Canva.
  • The scheme gives way to a new type of subdivision
  • Mixed-use developments can now fall under a multi-tiered structure
  • Welcomed by the UDIA, who have been a major supporter of the Act

The Community Titles Act 2018, set to allow for a new innovative and flexible form of land tenure, is now in effect in Western Australia.

The reform gives effect to a new type of subdivision – the community scheme – which offers an alternative to stratas. The scheme enhances flexibility to management and staging of new mixed-use developments by using a multi-tiered structure.

This means a single parcel of freehold land can be subdivided into a maximum of three tiers of schemes, allowing for an integration of retail, commercial and residential uses under a single overarching scheme.

The WA government said this opens new possibilities for single sites while allowing for potential efficiencies across shared infrastructure, governance arrangements and common property ownership.

“We’ve been working to implement strata reform for many years and I’m so pleased we have delivered on these changes,” said Planning Minister Rita Saffioti in a statement.

“The flexibility afforded by community schemes will change the urban landscape by giving investors, owners and tenants the choice and autonomy they seek.

“Together with the strong leadership we are providing through planning reform to deliver greater housing diversity, community schemes are another tool that will help drive innovation.”

Rita Saffioti, Minister for Planning

UDIA a “huge supporter” of the scheme

The WA Division of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) has welcomed the operation of the new scheme.

UDIA WA has long supported the legislation and is excited about the opportunities it will bring in the form of delivering and managing mixed-use developments in a more efficient manner.

“Community Titles has been in effect for many years in other states and the type of projects that are delivered under the schemes is quite amazing,” said Tanya Steinbeck, UDIA WA CEO.

“Projects like The New Rouse Hill in Sydney by Lendlease are a fantastic example of what can be done with Community Schemes.”

Tanya Steinbeck, UDIA WA CEO

Along with benefitting multi-storey buildings, the scheme can apply to large-scale land developments.

For example, new estates can include special features or amenities managed under a Community Title scheme – instead of a local government.

According to Ms Steinbeck, a separate management body can be created where homeowners pay a special levy, such as a strata levy, for the upkeep of the common property.

“This type of arrangement gives scope for developers to be able to create estates with features that are over and above local government standards,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“Sometimes extra landscaping, parks or new innovations such as water recycling programs are difficult to implement because the local government is unable to maintain them in the long term due to resource and financing constraints.”  

“This new legislation will provide an avenue for developers to pursue a range of initiatives that would eventually be managed by the local residents.”

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