As coincidence would have it I recently had a conversation with Dr Hazel Easthope, Senior Research Fellow, City Futures Research Centre UNSW following the news last month of yet another delay being announced in the now long over due review of NSW Strata Title legislation.

It has been confirmed that the Strata law reforms in NSW are to be delayed (again) with changes now not due to come into force until July next year. That’s another 18 months, which for such an important area of reform appears almost to be neglected.

The plans have been delayed several times since being announced in 2011. The reforms to the state’s 50-year-old strata laws are now urgent, but this message appears not to being heard by the State Government. In part a series of ministerial changes have hampered the process, but concerns among apartment dwellers are on the rise, and their concerns are justified.

The research being undertaken by Dr Easthope is looking at the experience of people living in strata titled property. Her work will look at details of people and seek to learn about their experiences of living in an apartment, and what they like and dislike about strata tile living. How strata title impacts the feeling of ‘home’ and how the quality of building management impacts residents. It’s notable that the quality of building management is now a key issue for many apartment buyers and investors.

The aim being to better understand the needs of different people living together in strata schemes and what can be done to make them more attractive places for everyone. The survey is due to be completed by 30th June 2015 and I look forward to seeing the results.

The survey can be accessed at www.cityfutures.net.au, and along with Dr Easthope I will keep readers up to date on the survey and related topics.

 Also in a national survey on strata-titled property conducted by Queensland’s Griffith University, the author, Professor Christopher Guilding has named building defects as the main challenge for apartment owners, which was also identified as the biggest issue for strata lawyers, and in the top five by resident building managers.

As a result the SMH recently reported that Professor Guilding is calling for a federal government inquiry about the issue, which must also put even more pressure on the NSW review process.

Professor Guilding will be releasing the results of the Inquiry Into Key Challenges In Australian Strata Title in September at the launch of the biennial national conference Strata and Community Title in Australia for the 21st Century.

The work by Professor Guilding and Dr Easthope appears very opportune and may well be central to helping to maintain the quality of life for the many apartment owners and future buyers across Australia and I am sure there will be a lot of valuable information and insights to share.