JIS News

The House of Representatives yesterday (December 15) passed the Registration (Strata Titles) Amendment Act with the 29 changes made by the Senate.
Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, noted that the majority of the amendments involved the insertion of or changes to words, to give greater clarity. He said that some clauses were also rearranged.
“These amendments in the vast majority of cases were amendments that were moved by opposition Senators,” he observed.
Among the significant changes, he highlighted, was adjustment to Clause Six to remove the requirement for the mortgagee (lending institution) to be informed of a default in insurance premium by the Strata Corporation.
“The Senate felt that there should be no requirement to inform the mortgagees, that the strata owner is to be informed, but not the mortgage company,” he explained.
While the House had approved provision that any penalty that is imposed under the Act, in addition to any contribution that is required of the strata lot owner, should be a charge on the strata lot, the Senate felt that the word “penalty” should be deleted. The Senators are of the opinion that the contributions that strata owners are required to make should represent a charge on the strata lot and therefore could be recovered in that way. The Prime Minister further outlined that where the House had decided that the contribution that owners are required to make should rank pari passu to any mortgages or charges on the lot, the Senate had amended that provision so that such contributions/charges would take priority over any mortgage charges.
In section eight, the Senate also added a new sub-section to make it explicit that where a Strata Corporation is proposing to sell an apartment, they must first apply to the court for an order.
“The House had made provision for corporations to make an application to the court for vacant possession in cases, for example, where they were seeking to exercise power to rent out the lot …but we had not make explicit provision that where they are proposing to sell the apartment, they should apply to the court for an order to do so,” Mr. Golding explained.
Another important amendment, he said, relates to unanimity on decisions of the Strata Corporation. “The existing statute requires that there are certain instances in which there must be a unanimous vote of all strata members. One such instance is where they are attempting to alter the by-laws of the Strata Corporation…the Senate, in its own wisdom, felt that to require a 100 per cent vote when you want to change the by-laws was onerous,” Mr. Golding said. He said the proposed amendment to reduce that to 75 per cent was fair.
During his presentation, Mr. Golding expressed the hope that the Bill would not have to return to the Senate, as a number of the measures included in the legislation were scheduled for implementation on January 1. “Part of that involves the transitioning that has to take place so that by April 1, the Real Estate Board and the Strata Corporation can be completely off the budget,” he explained.
The Registration (Strata Titles) Act was enacted in 1969 to facilitate the subdivision of land into strata, commonly known as apartments.
The changes to the Act amends the original legislation to, among other things, establish a Commission of Strata Corporation and specify its role and function; establish a timeframe within which new strata should be registered; stipulate penalties for non-payment of annual fees; and provide for the recovery of same in the courts.

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