We have all seen the movie "The Castle", poking
hilarious fun at the Government's powers of compulsory
acquisition over your home.
But what if your own neighbour could also compulsory acquire
The New South Wales Government has released an exposure draft of
Strata termination legislation which empowers private citizens to
forcibly acquire other people's homes.
So long as 75% of owners in the strata plan agree, (some of whom
may be investors or developers), the entire site can be
collectively sold or re-developed.
Sydney needs more housing and the Government's justification
for this proposal is urban renewal and consolidation.
If an apartment building is nearing the end of its life then it
might make "some sense" to force one or more reluctant
owners to give in and sell their unit so as to enable
re-development of the entire building. However, this is not a
criteria in the draft legislation. There is no requirement that the
building be run down. Indeed the building may be in first class
condition however, because it is located in a great area, with
potential for higher density redevelopment, then under the proposal
a majority of 75% of owners could force the reluctant owners to
sell. There is no proposed criteria which looks after the elderly
or infirm owners who simply have no desire to sell their property,
nor move to another home.
Nor is there any criteria that the proposed sale must yield a
higher density development. In other words, an existing 8 apartment
building could be sold by 6 out of 8 owners (forcing 2 reluctant
owners to sell) with a resulting new development downsized to 4
apartments as an end product, thus defeating the supposed aim of
increasing Sydney's housing availability.
Whilst the Government currently can only compulsory acquire
properties for public purposes (eg. infrastructure, roads, train
lines, etc) it is now being proposed that private citizens can
compulsory acquire their neighbours for the single purpose of
deriving profit, making no contribution to the public purse or
needs of the community.
If you thought the script for The Castle was entertaining, wait
for the next movie based on this proposed legislation.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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