A new form of land tenure that has just come into effect in Western Australia has the potential to change the way new development is delivered in the state and could facilitate greater innovation and new technology, according to the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA WA).

The Community Titles Act 2018 began operation on 30 June 2021.  A community scheme is a new form of land tenure in WA that enables the subdivision of a single parcel of freehold land into multiple schemes, called community titles schemes.

“UDIA WA has been a huge supporter of Community Title legislation and with community schemes now in effect, the development industry has the opportunity to deliver and manage mixed-use developments much more efficiently,” UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck said.

“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,” Ms 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 could come in the form of a multi-storey building or a large-scale land development, and a wide range of developments in between.

“For new, large scale land development, community schemes will allow an option to manage and deliver community infrastructure differently to how it’s done currently with local government,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“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,” Ms Steinbeck 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 home owners pay a special levy, like strata levies, for the upkeep of that common property,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“This type of arrangement gives scope for developers to be able to create estates with features that are over and above local government standards,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“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,” Ms Steinbeck 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,” Ms Steinbeck said.

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.

“Community schemes make it much easier to separate out the management and responsibility of different aspects of a project,” Ms Steinbeck said.

For example, in a mixed use situation where you have a multistory building with retail on the ground floors, commercial on the middle floors and residential on the top floors you can have a principle management company that takes care of the building and common matters such as the lifts and foyer while subsidiary management companies can be established for the retail floors, the commercial floors and the residential floors, giving much greater control to the owners.

“Overall, this is a very exciting new opportunity for development in Western Australia and we note the enormous amount of work that has gone into delivering the legislation and regulation by the team at Landgate,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“UDIA WA has welcomed the collaborative spirit in which the consultation has taken place over the last few years and we hope that developers will now take the opportunity to implement community schemes in their projects,” Ms Steinbeck said.


Gemma Osiejak

Executive Manager Communications & Marketing
P: 0421 506 819
E: gosiejak@udiawa.com.au