Apartment owners could be forced to sell under proposed laws

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Many apartment owners could be forced to sell their apartment to developers under proposed reforms.

At present, if a building is to be sold it must be agreed by all 100 per cent of owners. The Victorian Government however wants to lower this threshold to 75 per cent as it is currently difficult, expensive and impedes progress for old buildings to be redeveloped, when a single apartment owner can stop a collective sale from going ahead. Lowering the threshold has merit, it allows developers to redevelop out dated, deteriorated run- down buildings into better and safer apartments and it will see an increase in urban housing density in desirable suburbs such as Toorak, South Yarra, Richmond and Hawthorn.

However many people are concerned that it would force people to surrender their liveable homes at the wishes of their neighbours, and fears it could push vulnerable owner occupiers such as the elderly out of their homes. But many Victorians argue it is unfair that a single owner can deny the wishes of many other owners who collectively want to sell their apartments and make a decent profit. Submissions have been made on the planned reforms to the Owners Corporation Act, many supporting an 80 per cent vote threshold for a sale of buildings of more than 30 years old.

University of New South Wales strata law expert, Associate Professor Cathy Sherry believes these laws should only be allowed when a building is needing major repairs and further maintenance would be impractical. The Victorian government’s review into Victoria’s property laws is ongoing but they are looking at proposing keeping the 100 per cent vote requirement for buildings younger than 15 years, but have a 95 per cent vote requirement for buildings 15-20 years old and 80 per cent vote requirement for buildings older than 30 years old.


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