Owners’ Corporation Network: putting residential strata on a national footing

Owners’ Corporation Network: putting residential strata on a national footing
Dr Janette Corcoran

Several things are well known about residential strata. First and foremost is that it is now a mainstream way of living throughout Australia.

Another point is that it comes with complex challenges, ranging from conflict resolution to rectification works to arrears management. Notably, many challenges are common throughout Australia – we are all dealing with mitigating lithium-ion battery fires!

A third, regrettable point is that responses to managing residential strata are state-specific. While confronting the same issues, how we respond, and the importance and resources given to these issues vary between states. For instance, the governments of NSW and Queensland each have dedicated Commissioners for Strata, while in Victoria, this space remains blank.

This has meant that in Victoria, support has fallen largely to strata residents themselves, with several groups, including the Docklands Representative Group (DRG) and Southbank3006, endeavouring to provide some degree of guidance.

There are also several Facebook pages where individuals share advice, though the reliability of this information is questionable.

Clearly, there is a need for a sustainable, coordinated approach to supporting residential strata, one which does not rely on individual volunteers’ goodwill.

This was precisely the lesson learned by Owners’ Corporation Network (OCN), a not-for-profit organisation focusing on residential strata for more than 20 years. OCN originated in NSW in 2002 when several new apartment owners (who bought off-the-plan) came together to discuss common issues, such as developer defects and multi-decade supplier contracts.

Over the ensuing 20 years, OCN has evolved into an organisation that:

  • Advocates on behalf of residential strata, such as by authoring submissions for regulatory reforms (e.g., strata schemes development and management acts).
  • Produces strata-focused resources, such as residential strata emergency preparedness guides.
  • Hosts forums on strata topics, such as expert webinars on lithium-ion battery fires and waterproofing.

Given the commonality of strata issues nationwide, OCN’s expertise is increasingly being sought, including in Victoria. Here, OCN has already been asked to comment on proposed programs and scheme designs. Due to this growing demand, OCN is exploring how its expertise can be best leveraged to serve strata owners, with efforts under way in the ACT, Queensland and Victoria.

OCN knows that activities in Victoria must develop in a way that both best leverages existing learnings and suits local conditions. This is why OCN is a participant in the HighLife Expo in Melbourne on Saturday, June 1.

Here, OCN will co-host a “listening post” where locals can have their say about ways to improve residential strata. Additionally, OCN will offer FREE membership to Victorians who visit the HighLife Expo! •

Meet Peta Brehaut

Meet Peta Brehaut

May 29th, 2024 - Docklands News
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