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In recent months the team here at Successful Stratas has had some ‘full-and-frank’ discussions with what we, somewhat unsympathetically, call ‘stranded’ duplex or strata title owners. By ‘stranded’ we do not mean someone with such poor navigation skills their planned trip to Rottnest came to an inglorious end on a Swan River sandbank.

Instead, we use ‘stranded’ to refer to those poor souls who, mistakenly, think they are unable to proceed with a proposed development project because they have been unable to convince their fellow strata-title owners to convert to survey-strata.

Typically, such discussions take a fairly predictable course.

Client: “I wanted to develop my property in Como but my proposal to convert to Survey Strata Titles was knocked back by the other owners who said they were happy with the status quo. Now I’m locked into a property I cannot develop.”

Successful Stratas: “It appears both you and your fellow strata owners do not understand the implications of recent decisions by the District Court of WA. Any owner who, in the opinion of the Court, objects unreasonably to a proposed conversion to survey-strata may have costs awarded against them. In other words, they do not have an automatic veto and must consider the interests of all owners, as well as their own, in making a decision. The desire to simply maintain the status quo is not considered a reasonable objection to a proposed conversion.”

Our experience suggests that when strata-title owners are made aware of the implications of the Court’s decision – and the potential for significant costs to be awarded against them – they quickly drop any objection they may have had to proposed changes to the Strata Scheme.

Indeed, in most instances it is difficult to understand why anyone would want to object to a proposal to convert to survey-strata because it increases the value of all units (lots) in the scheme as a result of the greater flexibility and clearer definition of lot ownership it offers.

Even the dyed-in-the-wool cynics at Successful Stratas consider this a true ‘Win-Win’ situation and you don’t find many of these in the current property market.

A related point, again not widely understood by some property owners, is that older style Strata Schemes registered before 1998 have the right to automatically convert to survey-strata. This reflects the sensible but nevertheless enlightened view of
the West Australian Planning Commission that strata title schemes need to reflect changing community needs.

Despite the relative ease and cost such changes entail we again stress the need to obtain professional assistance. Changing a strata scheme is a very process-oriented procedure that may fail on a technicality if the correct procedure is not followed.

The resident cynic at Successful Stratas often asks, “Why keep a dog if you are going to do the barking yourself?” To ensure you do not bark up the wrong tree, call Warren at Successful Stratas on (08) 9342 5293 or email info@stratas.com.au for an obligation-free discussion.