17 November 2019

Harmonising urban living: Reforms to mixed-use developments

| BAL Lawyers
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MPY - Morris Property's 'Parc'development in Macquarie

Morris Property Group’s new mixed-use development, Parc, in Macquarie. Photo: Morris Property.

Canberra is a city of diversity and growth, and with this growth comes the need to encourage and facilitate the construction of new homes within the existing urban landscape. This will undoubtedly lead to an increase in mixed-use living.

Since the advent of mixed-use developments, there has been tension between the competing interests of business owners, investors and residents.

On 12 August 2019, the ACT Government announced the upcoming ‘Managing Buildings Better’ reforms which propose to amend the current legislative framework regulating the management of owners corporations.

The current legislative framework is far too rigid and inhibits owners corporations from tailoring the management of their building. A good example is the apportionment of costs associated with the running and management of the building.

Currently, the legislative scheme treats all owners uniformly, whether they’re a resident or commercial owner. Despite this, owners corporations have been known to use discretionary measures to split levy contributions depending on the nature of the costs or the use of particulars services. There is, however, no clear legislative basis for owners corporations to do so and this has resulted in complex management structures, uncertainty (particularly for prospective buyers) and confusion for owners.

The initial reforms to be introduced by the ACT Government aim to:

  • Empower owners corporations to determine the management and contribution structure for their building
  • Provide off-the-plan buyers with greater disclosure and transparency
  • Update rules associated with the keeping of pets, and
  • Provide a more accurate split of building costs between residential and commercial owners.

The rationale behind the reforms is to create a fair, practical and transparent administrative process, whereby all owners can benefit and function in mixed-used development complexes. This is a ‘watch this space’ as the reforms are introduced over the coming months. Further details to come.

For more information about ACT Government Reforms, property and real estate contact the Real Estate Team at BAL Lawyers.

Written by Anthony Gattas.

This is a sponsored article, though all opinions are the author’s own. For more information on paid content, see our sponsored content policy.

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