As we fully step into the new year, Queensland’s strata property landscape is set to witness several changes and challenges in 2024. For property owners and investors involved in strata communities, staying informed about the latest trends and potential challenges is crucial for effective management. In this article, we’ll explore some key considerations and topics that are likely to shape the strata sector in Queensland throughout 2024.
Keeping abreast of legislative changes is paramount for strata property owners. In 2023, Queensland made updates to strata laws and regulations, impacting various aspects of strata living such as smoking, pets and the towing of illegally parked vehicles. A major challenge for bodies corporate in 2024 will be integrating these changes with their scheme’s existing by-laws which may require significant overhaul. Staying informed and seeking professional advice is essential to avoid potential legal pitfalls.
The global push towards sustainability is influencing all sectors, and strata communities are no exception. In 2024, Queensland strata owners may find an increased focus on eco-friendly practices and energy-efficient measures. Implementing sustainable initiatives not only contributes to environmental conservation but can also lead to long-term cost savings for strata communities. A major challenge with those seeking to invest to save vs property owners who are not in the financial positions to make those investments (even if they support them).
Advancements in technology are transforming the way strata properties are managed. Expect to see a greater adoption of digital platforms and management tools (e.g. Stratacare management app) designed to streamline communication, enhance security, and simplify administrative tasks. Staying technologically updated will be crucial for effective strata management in 2024.
Building a sense of community within strata properties is vital for harmonious living. In 2024, community engagement may become a focal point for strata property owners. Establishing effective communication channels, organising community events, and fostering a collaborative environment will be essential for creating a positive and cohesive living experience.
With the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, Queensland strata properties may face challenges related to climate resilience. Property owners should assess and implement measures to protect their investments against potential impacts, such as flooding, storms, bushfires, heatwaves and rising sea levels. This may involve infrastructure upgrades, insurance considerations, and community-wide emergency preparedness plans.
Many strata properties in Queensland were developed several decades ago, and ageing infrastructure is a common concern. Owners may need to address maintenance issues, upgrades, and potential renovations to ensure the longevity and market value of their properties. Proactive planning and budgeting for these projects will be crucial in 2024.
Short-term Letting (Airbnb)
Short-term letting in strata properties will continue to be a highly contentious topic in 2024 with even more scrutiny and increasing backlash to the industry because of the current housing crisis.
Many local councils are beginning to take action to regulate short-term letting in their areas. Noosa Council, for example, has introduced a raft of regulations for short-term letting activities and Brisbane City Council has increased rates for property owners who short-term let for more than 60 days.
Expect this trend to continue in 2024, with more local councils in Australia introducing greater regulations to the short-term letting sector.
Cost-of-Living Pressures and Strata Financial Obligations:
one of the significant challenges facing strata property owners in Queensland is the escalating cost-of-living pressures. As the broader economic landscape undergoes shifts, property owners may find it increasingly difficult to meet their financial obligations associated with strata living. Strata levies, maintenance costs, and insurance premiums are just a few of the financial responsibilities that owners need to consider. It becomes imperative for strata committees and managers to strike a balance between ensuring the financial sustainability of the property and recognising the economic constraints faced by individual owners.
With the cost of living on the rise, strata communities may witness an uptick in shared accommodation arrangements. More people opting to live together to alleviate financial burdens can result in higher demand for strata properties. While this trend can offer economic benefits to individual tenants, it brings forth its own set of challenges for strata communities.
Challenges of Increased Shared Accommodation:
- Overcrowding Concerns: The surge in shared living arrangements can lead to potential overcrowding issues within strata properties. Overcrowding not only strains the property’s resources but also poses challenges related to noise, parking, and the overall quality of living. Strata committees should remain vigilant to prevent breaches of occupancy limits and enforce by-laws designed to maintain a comfortable living environment for all residents.
- Increased Wear and Tear: Higher occupancy rates in strata properties can result in increased wear and tear on common areas and facilities. Strata committees may need to implement effective maintenance plans and establish clear guidelines to manage the impact of higher resident density on shared spaces.
- Parking and Traffic Management: A higher number of residents can strain parking facilities and lead to traffic congestion within strata communities. Implementing fair and transparent parking policies, considering visitor parking allowances, and exploring alternative transportation options can help mitigate these challenges.
Lithium Battery Fires:
In 2024, as the adoption of lithium battery-powered devices such as e-bikes, scooters, and electric vehicles (EVs) continues to grow, Queensland strata property owners must be vigilant about the potential threat of lithium battery fires. While these advancements bring undeniable benefits, including reduced environmental impact and enhanced mobility, they also pose unique challenges when it comes to fire safety within strata communities.
E-bikes, Scooters, and Charging Stations: The proliferation of e-bikes and scooters powered by lithium batteries presents an increased risk of fire, especially during the charging process. Strata properties may witness a surge in residents installing charging stations in common areas, and it’s crucial to establish clear guidelines for their installation and usage. Implementing safety measures such as designated charging areas, fire-resistant materials, and regular inspections can help mitigate the risk of battery-related fires.
Electric Vehicles and Parking Facilities: With the growing popularity of electric vehicles, strata properties may experience a surge in demand for EV charging infrastructure. While this development aligns with sustainability goals, it also necessitates careful consideration of fire safety. Strata committees should work towards implementing safe and compliant EV charging stations, ensuring proper electrical installations, and establishing protocols for reporting and addressing any potential issues promptly.
Emergency Response Plans: Given the specific challenges posed by lithium battery fires, it is imperative for strata communities to develop and regularly review emergency response plans. This includes clear evacuation procedures, designated assembly points, and communication strategies to address any fire incidents promptly and efficiently.
Fire Safety Education: Increasing awareness about the potential risks associated with lithium batteries is essential. Strata committees should provide education and resources to residents, highlighting safe charging practices, proper storage, and the importance of reporting any concerns related to battery-powered devices.
Insurance Considerations: Strata property owners should review their insurance policies to ensure they provide adequate coverage for potential damages resulting from lithium battery fires. Understanding the extent of coverage and any specific requirements related to battery-powered devices is crucial in managing potential financial implications.
By proactively addressing the fire safety concerns associated with lithium battery technology, Queensland strata communities can strike a balance between embracing technological advancements and ensuring the safety and well-being of their residents.