97% Want Licensing of Strata Managers in WA – Landgate Terms of Reference for Licensing is 11 Years Old
At present, strata managers are licensed only in New South Wales, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. Strata managers are regulated in other jurisdictions in various forms other than licensing. In Western Australia there is no regulation in anyway shape or form, anyone can walk in off the street and call themselves a strata manager.
The WA State Government commissioned The Stamfords’ Report, in July 2007, which did not recommend licensing, however, recommended amendments to the 1985 Act including: the recognition of professional strata managers; a requirement for strata managers to hold adequate professional indemnity insurance; and a requirement to hold all strata company funds under their management in a trust account.
This appears to be the terms of reference that Landgate is operating under when it comes to the Licensing of Strata Managers in WA.
In July 2008 the Council, of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to develop a National Occupational Licensing System (NOLS) the purpose of which was to establish a nationally uniform system of licensing for nominated occupations, administered in accordance with common, uniform policies.
The WA State Government at the time agreed in principal to a National Licensing System.
Both the Economics and Industry Standing Committee and Public Administration Committee, in 2010 recommended licensing of strata managers but did not address the cost of administering a licensing regime or consider other alternative regulatory options.
The Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Public Administration (PAC) commenced its own motion inquiry into Western Australian strata managers on November 2009.
In particular, the PAC looked at the functions and responsibilities of strata managers; the education of strata managers; whether strata managers should be licensed; and other relevant matters. The PAC tabled its report in the Legislative Council on September 2011.
The report makes a number of recommendations in regard to strata managers, the key recommendation being “the practices of some strata managers are detrimental to their client’s interests and significant assets of strata owners are currently at risk. The Committee notes that the strata management industry has recognised the risks of an unregulated industry and is calling for regulation and better education of strata managers and that strata managers should be regulated by a system of positive licensing“.
Eleven years ago when they started the WA Strata Title Reforms there was not the appetite for the licensing of strata managers.
Things have changed!
Last year I drafted a letter of support for the Reforms which was presented to the Honorable Minister for Lands, Ms Saffioti, which was signed by SCA WA, Property Council of Australia, REIWA, UDIA, PIA, API and FMA.
The letter supported the Reform process which was originally implemented under a State Labor Government, progressed significantly under a Liberal Government and will now be concluded back under Labor.
The lettered agreed that the Reforms were desperately needed, however, it concluded that the current Reforms are Stage 1 of a Two Stage Process. Following the passing of the current Reforms, we immediately need to sit down and start drafting the legislation for implementation of the Licensing of Strata Managers.
I acknowledge it will be a long arduous process, but it needs to be done now and not in 22 years time, as is the case with the current Reforms.
WA has grown and matured significantly over the last 11 years, there is no doubt that the Industry desperately needs and also supports Licensing.
The above article was written by myself and is to be taken as my individual point of view and should not be seen as the position of the property associations and council’s that I hold a position on.