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  • A new form of land tenure, the community scheme, which offers an alternative to strata title, is now in effect in WA
  • Community schemes allow a single parcel of freehold land to be subdivided into a maximum of three tiers of schemes
  • UDIA WA the new type of land tenure has the potential to transform the way new development is delivered in the state
  • A community scheme might take the shape of a multi-story structure, a large-scale land development, or a variety of other developments

A new type of land tenure that provides an alternative to strata title is now in effect in WA.

The Community Titles Act 2018 gives effect to a new type of tenure and subdivision – the community scheme — which offers an alternative to strata.

A community scheme enables the subdivision of a single parcel of freehold land into multiple schemes, called community titles schemes.

Under the scheme, a single tower development where you have a mixture of retail, commercial offices and residential floors can be separated into different schemes.

According to the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA WA), the new type of land tenure has the potential to transform the way new development is delivered in the state and could allow increased innovation and new technology.

“Community Titles has been in effect for many years in other states and the type of projects that are delivered under the schemes is quite amazing,” UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck said.

“Projects like The New Rouse Hill in Sydney by Lendlease are a fantastic example of what can be done with Community Schemes,” Ms Steinbeck said.

A community scheme might take the shape of a multi-story structure, a large-scale land development, or a variety of other developments.

“Community schemes can more seamlessly manage a range of uses, such as shops, cafés, offices, residential properties and recreational facilities,” Lands Minister Tony Buti said.

“A first for WA, the multi-tier structure of community schemes can support unparalleled flexibility and customisation within the management of new mixed-use developments.”

Ms Steinbeck said for new, large land developments, community schemes will allow an option to manage and deliver community infrastructure different to how it is currently done with local government.

“Developers of new estates will be able to include special features or amenities in their project that can be managed under a Community Title scheme,” she said.

“Rather than vesting those facilities to the local government to manage into the future, a community scheme can be established so that a separate management body is created and homeowners pay a special levy, like strata levies, for the upkeep of that common property.”

Ms Steinbeck said this will give developers a scope to create estates with features above the local government standards.

“Sometimes extra landscaping, parks or new innovations such as water recycling programs are difficult to implement because the local government is unable to maintain them in the long term due to resource and financing constraints,” she said.

“This new legislation will provide an avenue for developers to pursue a range of initiatives that would eventually be managed by the local residents.”

For multi-unit or mixed-use development, the new framework allows the option of a principal management company and subsidiary management companies in a hierarchical arrangement.

In a mixed-use tower, a principal management company could take care of the building and common matters such as lifts while a subsidiary management company can be established for the residential, office and retail floors.

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