In this Strata Law Podcast, Partner Rebecca Moufarrege discusses everything you need to know about the reporting requirements for Strata schemes in New South Wales.
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Dan Toombs: When it comes to reporting requirements for strata schemes in New South Wales, there are a lot of moving parts. Today I’m with Rebecca Moufarrege, a Partner at Sachs Gerace, to discuss what you need to know. Rebecca, at the outset, what are the new annual reporting requirements for strata schemes in New South Wales?
Rebecca Moufarrege: The new annual reporting requirements will commence on the 30 June this year for all strata schemes in New South Wales and on this, corporation will be required to give information in the approved form to New South Wales Fair Trading and information must be uploaded online through Strata Hub.
For strata scheme registered before 35 June 2022, the owners corporation must have lodged the required information on the Strata Hub by 30 September 22 and from the 1 July 2022 onwards, new Ssrata schemes will need to register the required information within three months of the first Annual General Meeting. All strata schemes will have to lodge the updated required information annually within three months of their Annual General Meeting.
DT: Rebecca, you made reference on numerous occasions there in relation to a Strata Hub. What is the Strata Hub?
RM: The Strata Hub is an initiative of the New South Wales government to provide better transparency, accountability, better regulation and more engagement for owners and residents of strata schemes in New South Wales.
It’s a digital central access point of information for all New South Wales strata schemes, which will consolidate all information about New South Wales, more than 83,000 strata schemes in the one place to make it easier to access information.
DT: So let’s talk for a moment about owners corporations. Now, what information do owners corporations need to provide under these new reporting requirements?
RM: Well, the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016 will specify all the information that an owners corporation must provide to Fair Trading through Strata Hub, but we can categorise them in three categories.
The first category being the basic information about the strata scheme. This includes things such as the strata plan number, the date the schemes plan was registered, the address of the strata scheme, the total number of lots that are in the scheme.
The second category is building and safety information. This includes the date that the strata schemes interim and final occupation certificates were issued if the scheme actually received these certificates, the date of the most recent annual file safety statement for buildings that are required to have one.
And the third category is information on the management of the strata scheme. This includes the contact details for the secretary and the chairperson of the owners corporation, contact details for any strata managing agent or building manager, the date of the most recent AGM, the balance of the Scheme Capital Works Fund as reported in its most recent financial statement and whether the strata scheme has formed a strategy of your own committee.
DT: Now with these reporting requirements, firstly, are they mandatory? And secondly, are there any penalties for non-compliance?
RM: Yes, they’re certainly mandatory. The owners corporation for a strata scheme must they must give the required information to Fair Trading and non-compliance is an offence. If an owners corporation does not comply with their reporting obligations within the allotted time then the maximum penalty is 50 penalty units. That’s equivalent to a fine of up to $5,500. Also penalties of up to $220 apply if incorrect information is provided.
DT: I’m assuming just in relation to information that owners corporations would need to ensure that any out-of-date information is in fact up to date.
RM: That’s correct. And if the secretary of the owners corporation or the strata managing agent, if there is one, becomes aware that any information provided is actually incorrect or out-of-date, then they’ve been given 28 days to notify their trading and update that information.
If the information is not updated within the 28-day time frame then the owners can be fined up to $2,200.
Requiring strata schemes to correct information is really important to ensure that it remains useful and up-to-date for people who are intending to align the information.
DT: Who can access information about a strategy scheme?
RM: Generally certain information not all will be publicly available, while certain information will only be available to limited groups. For example, a person who is on the strata roll for that scheme, the secretary of the owners corporation, members of the strata committee. Fair Trading may also disclose certain information to the local council, Fire and Rescue New South Wales and other emergency services. Any person wanting to access this information will be required, however, to verify their identity.
DT: Now lastly, is there a cost to the owners corporation?
RM: Yes, there’s a nominal cost to provide ongoing administration of the Strata Hub. It’s a flat administration fee of $3 per lot will apply when submitting the information. So a two-lot scheme will be required to pay $6 whereas a 20-lot scheme will be required to pay $60.
And I should also add that strata managing agent will undoubtedly be charging for their time it takes for them to upload and maintain information on the Strata Hub.
DT: Rebecca, if owners corporations have got any questions in relation to the new annual reporting requirements, they can obviously reach out to Sachs Gerace?
RM: That’s correct. We’re more than happy to provide advice and my recommendation to owners corporations and strata managing agents is to ensure that they’re ready for the new annual reporting requirements and they can either telephone us on (02) 9331 5177, or contact us via our website.
DT: Rebecca, thanks for joining me.
RM: Great, thank you. Thanks Dan.
Outro: Thanks for listening. If you have any questions or need more information, simply call Sachs Gerace on (02) 9331 5177.