Media - Media Releases

Media Contact
Media enquiries may be made to : 
 

Pat McGuire
Marketplace Communications
0412 748 161
patrick.mcguire@mpc.com.au


 

Strata Life eMagazine

 

 The latest news is also contained in our consumer publication, Strata Life.

 It is distributed to about 375,000 owners.

July 2016

5.34%
5.34% is the national average of levies in arrears greater than 30 days, as reported from the 2015 SCA Strata Benchmarking Project. Though Victoria lags behind, with a figure of 8.74%.

February 2016

Defects and flammable cladding
Strata sector fears widespread cladding crisis     

November 2014

4.87% is the national average of levies in arrears greater than 30 days, as reported from the 2014 SCA Strata Benchmarking Project. It has continued to improve [ie decrease] over the previous two years.

September 2013

Strata Contract Brokerage Companies 

 SCA (Vic) recently considered, at its Council meeting of 19 July 2013, the emergence of companies that purport to negotiate strata management contracts on behalf of, & free of charge to, Owners Corporations - in short acting as ‘contract brokers’.

Such ‘contract brokers’ are not to be confused with traditional ‘business brokers’ that act as agents in the sale of portfolios from one strata management company to another & are remunerated by the vendor. ‘Contract brokers’ derive income from the purchasing strata management company & from information reviewed by SCA (Vic) the actual amount of income is not fully disclosed.

Management companies wishing to have their tender presented to the OC for consideration must agree to pay 2.5 times annual management fee if successful to the ‘contract broker’ & become bound by the restrictive clauses within the agreement.

The OC does not receive any financial gain for the placement of their contract but may well become exposed to increased costs as managers strive to recover the significant purchase expense to underpin the ongoing viability of their businesses.

Whilst possibly appearing enticing to OC’s at first glance the devil is in the detail as the tender process is limited to only those firms willing to ‘buy’ business which does nothing to ensure that the ‘most suitable’ manager for the job is actually presented to the consumer for consideration.

SCA (Vic) has fundamental concerns regarding the transparency, disclosure & ethics of this process & is of the opinion that the best interests of Owners Corporations, consumers & the industry may not be inherently supported or protected.

June 2013
SCA issued a Media Release 21/06/2012:

Detached housing declines, apartments more popular

June 2013
A Regulatory Impact Statement was published and now the VCAT (Fees) Regulations 2013 has been made law. There are increases beginning 1 June 2013, and further increases beginning 1 July 2013.

VCAT fees for most small cases increase by an order of magnitude and some much, much more. The objective is higher cost recovery by increasing fees because there’s some private [versus public] benefit, but not so high that it prevents access to justice for users. The same thing was recently adopted by comparable courts eg Magistrates Court.

Except for the smallest claims [<$500], fees increase by an order of magnitude for 2,500 or 85% of all OC matters [$500 -  $10k], by changing them from the ‘community fee’ to be a new ‘Level 3’ fee where the nature of the matter justifies a higher fee.

Fees increase by even more for 500 or 15% of all OC matters, by reallocating them from the ‘community fee’ to be a new fee for amounts in dispute between $10k-$100k or no monetary value.

The rationale is that OC matters are currently charged the ‘community fee’ but are [along with Domestic Building , Fair Trading]:

 

  • Increasingly commercial in nature, and/or
  • Involve large claims
  • Usually involve parties with the ability to pay a higher fee and raise questions with a lesser benefit than some other cases as the decision turns on the facts of the case and do not inform a general understanding of the scope of the relevant law
  • Many matters are more costly to run than others for which the community fee is currently also charged

The Regulations have a 3 year lifespan, with further increases in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 years. SCA (Vic) made a submission that we agreed with the RIS proposal and rationale [despite that it means massively increased fees for OCs].

 OC List Fees from 1 July 2013

 

Value of cases

No. of cases

total cases 3,100

Current OC List Fees 28/5/13

OC List Fees in first year:

2013-14

<$500

 

$38.80

$44.90

$500 - $10k

2,550         85%

$38.80

$132.30

$10k - $100k, or

No monetary value is sought

138 +

391 = 529  15%

$38.80

$428.90

$100k - $1m

5               0.1%

$38.80

$805.10

> $1m

-                 0%

$38.80

$1,553.60

 

The fee in the OC List for matters regarding the Subdivision Act 1988 Part 5 is $428.90 from 1 July 2013.

The full tables of fees, including for the month of June, are available on the VCAT web site www.vcat.vic.gov.au


March 2013

Company Title Disputes now at VCAT

 

 

February 2013
'Rip off' body corporate managers stay registered
SCA Media Release


January 2013


VCAT Fees to rise more than 300%

Here is the RIS [Regulatory Impact Statement] for proposed VCAT (Fees) Regulations;

VCAT fees for most small cases to increase over 300 percent and some much, much more.

The objective is higher cost recovery by increasing fees because there’s some private [versus public] benefit, but not so high that it prevents access to justice for users. The same thing was recently adopted by comparable courts eg Magistrates Court.

Fees increase by 312 percent for 2,500 or 85 percent of all OC matters (more than$10k)], by changing them from the ‘community fee’ to be a new ‘Level 3’ fee where the nature of the matter justifies a higher fee.

Fees increase by 1,194 percent for 500 or 15 percent of all OC matters, by reallocating them from the ‘community fee’ to be a new fee for amounts in dispute between $10k-$100k or no monetary value.

The rationale is that OC matters are currently charged the ‘community fee’ but are [along with Domestic Building , Fair Trading]:
•             Increasingly commercial in nature, and/or
•             Involve large claims
•             Usually involve parties with the ability to pay a higher fee and raise questions with a lesser benefit than some other cases as the decision turns on the facts of the case and do not inform a general understanding of the scope of the relevant law
•             Many matters are more costly to run than others for which the community fee is currently also charged
Proposes OC List Fees

Value of cases 

No of Cases

Current OC Lidt Fees

Proposed OC LIst Fees
(staged over 3 years,
but just showing final year 3)

 More than $ 10K  2,500
85 %
 $ 38.80  $160.40
 $10K - $ 100K
or no monetary value sought
 138 + 391 = 529
15 %
 $38.80  $502.50
 $100K - $1 Million  5
0.1 %
$38.80
$38.80
 $1,007.40
 Less than $ 1 Million  0 %  $38.80  $2,014.80

The proposed regulations are due to commence 1 March 2013, and have a 3 year lifespan.
Do you agree with the RIS proposal and rationale? Let us know your thoughts by 7 Feb 2013, before an SCA (Vic) submission is considered.

October 2012
6.89% is the national average of levies in arrears greater than 30 days, as reported from the 2012 SCA Strata Benchmarking Project. In the previous year it was 7.12%. At a state level Qld led the pack at 3.52% whilst NSW was the laggard at 7.76%.



October 2012
Strata activation bonus

SCA (Vic) recommends a “Strata activation bonus” be adopted in the Victorian state budget 2013-2014.

What
All lot [apartment] owners in small OCs [<20 lots] receive a one-off bonus voucher of $100 to be used towards the costs to activate the OC such as calling an AGM and taking out the OC insurance required by the law.

Voucher eligible to be used to engage a BLA registered manager [or, if national licensing of strata managers is in place by this time, then that], and for any OC fees levied [eg insurance].

Cost
About 300,000 owners  x $100 per owner  = $30 million

Why
Unfortunately, despite best efforts, a substantial part of the strata sector does not understand their rights and obligations, and their OC does not function. That is, an OC exists but is not active, so it does not comply with the law. For example, a significant risk is that much of the Vic sector does not have the appropriate OC insurance required by the law. Aside from normal insurance events, recent floods and fires in Victoria show what can happen when natural disasters strike and insurance is not in place.

August 2012
Fire Services Property Levy

As we have advocated over a number of years, and in great news for owners corporations, from 1 July 2013 Victoria will abolish the unfair and inequitable insurance-based fire services levy and replace it with a fairer system for funding state fire services through a property-based fire services levy collected by local councils as part of rates notices.

It will apply to all real property (land and buildings) and will include a fixed component as well as a variable charge assessed on the capital improved value of the property. There will be different levy rates depending on the location of the property and the property type eg residential versus commercial.

The reform removes the “tax-on-tax” from insurance premiums, including abolishing the associated GST and stamp duty costs.

For residential property owners this amounts to a 20 per cent reduction in the total amounts recovered from insurance policy holders due to the removal of the GST and stamp duty charged on the fire services levy component of insurance premiums.

The average residential property owner will pay a lower contribution to the fire services levy than they currently pay.

The government’s web site has all the info and a range of Facts Sheets

June 2012
Detached housing declines, apartments more popular
The 2011 Census reveals worst kept secret. SCA's media release is here.

February 2012
6.09% is the Victorian average of OC fees in arrears greater than 30 days, as reported from the 2011 SCA Strata Benchmarking Project. In the 2010-11 year there were about 2,100 applications to VCAT just for OC fee recovery, which was about a 15% increase over the previous year. For VCAT applications for unpaid OC fees, if successful, a practice has developed that costs are routinely awarded in these types of proceedings.

September 2011
Unwelcome change gives individuals 'standing', but problems with overseas lot owners overcome

September 2011
Fines now in OC Regulations 

September 2011
Victoria to dump Fire Services Levy 
 

05 July 2011
Carbon price compensation flawed for apartment dwellers