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Policy implications for governing Australia's apartment communities: tenants, committees of management and strata managers


Altmann, E, Policy implications for governing Australia's apartment communities: tenants, committees of management and strata managers, Housing in 21st Century Australia: People, practices and policies, Ashgate, R Dufty-Jones & D Rogers (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 121-136. ISBN 978-1-4724-3113-4 (2015) [Research Book Chapter]

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Copyright 2015 Rae Dufty-Jones, Dallas Rogers and contributors

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Over the second half the 20th century Australia emerged as a home owning nation with much of that home ownership occurring within a suburban setting dominated by free title land holdings (see Chapters 9 and 10). However, as Randolph (2006: 474) notes, since the turn of the 21st century this freehold ‘suburban option [has become] increasingly curtailed’. Australians are increasingly ‘expected to spend substantial proportions of their lives in a form of housing that hitherto has only been a minority choice’. One such form is ‘strata titled’ housing. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2011) data reveals that in Australia one in four people live or own strata titled property in its various forms (units, flats, apartments, gated and master planned communities or commercial property). The growing dominance of ‘strata titled’ living is attributed in part to the increased prevalence of ‘urban consolidation’ agendas in the contemporary planning of Australia’s cities and regions (Easthope and Randolph 2008) which results in higher density living.

Australia has much to contribute to research on high-density living. While there is debate as to where and how strata titled properties first originated, the introduction of the strata title mechanism into Australia in the early 1960s means that there is a 50-year period of accumulated experience with this property type. Easthope and Randolph (2008: 244) note that Australian strata title property legislation has formed a basis for jurisdictional reform in countries such as Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia. The take up of Australia's legislative framework by so many countries combined with urban consolidation policies and frameworks makes strata titled housing a significant area of housing research for Australian and international audiences.

Accompanying increased numbers of strata titled dwellings in Australia has been a shift in a range of rental sub-markets. Increasingly, Australians rent units and apartments rather than single dwellings. Governance issues increasingly coalesce around tenants and strata-titled building complexes. While there is an increasing body of academic research in this area, it has primarily been from the perspectives of the developer-buyer, owner-occupier or social housing tenant, and/or from the landlord. The view of the committees of management, or the strata manager has not previously been considered. This chapter explores this gap through presentation of findings from a qualitative research project that investigates the interaction between tenants, owner committees of management and strata managers of apartment developments in Melbourne, Australia. The research investigates tenancy and landlord issues that committees of management address as part of their usual business. First, the market changes that lead to greater numbers of tenants living in buildings with this type of governance mechanism is highlighted. Then the governance mechanism attached to this form of building complex is explained. Next, the research method is outlined. Finally, the thematic results are discussed and their impact on policy explored. without identifying and exploring this lacuna, there can be no holistic understanding of how high-density living will play out within Australian society or how governments might introduce policies and legislation that would assist in closing the gap.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:apartment, housing, tenants, policy, strata title, committees of management
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Urban sociology and community studies
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and politics
Objective Field:Public services policy advice and analysis
UTAS Author:Altmann, E (Dr Erika Altmann)
ID Code:102467
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2015-08-22
Last Modified:2018-05-03

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