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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 8 Hansard (7 August) . . Page.. 3016..


MR BARR (continuing):

the seller warrants that, to the seller's knowledge, there are no unfunded latent or patent defects in the common property or the owners corporation assets.

Another warranty provided by the seller is that there are no actual, contingent or unfunded liabilities of the owners corporation that are not part of the owners corporation normal operating expenses—other than those disclosed in the contract for sale.

The protection for a buyer under the relevant contract of sale is that a buyer can cancel the contract if there is a breach of the implied warranty by the seller. Alternatively, a buyer can claim compensation against the seller for the seller's breach of an implied warranty not disclosed in the contract for sale.

An aspect of the exposure draft of the bill that attracted a number of submissions was the proposed funding model. Following numerous representations about the funding model that was proposed, the government has decided to remove these provisions at this time.

The submissions received to date highlighted a number of aspects of the proposed funding model, including that it was not equitable and that it was to be used to fund the new ACAT.

It has been decided to implement the legislation using the funds available in the agents trust account, and to undertake further consultation with stakeholders to develop an appropriate model to fund the new consumer protection measures and dispute resolution arrangements.

The key principles in developing the funding model are that it is to be on a user-pays basis—that is, those who are covered by the new unit titles legislation should pay for the benefits—that it is to be a simple process to manage and that the level of funding meets the anticipated cost of the new arrangements.

Finally—and very importantly to many people—the bill provides for the keeping of pets. Rather than having the provisions as part of the default articles in a schedule in the regulations, which can be overridden, the bill allows for a unit owner to keep an animal, for an owners corporation to give consent—with or without conditions—and that the owners corporation consent cannot be unreasonably withheld.

An owner of a unit may apply to the ACAT to resolve the dispute with the owners corporation about the keeping of pets in units. In addition, in discussions that I have had with the RSPCA, we have agreed that we will develop a set of procedures to assist owners and owners corporations in resolving disputes and in any appeals to the ACAT. The RSPCA has also indicated its willingness to assist owners and owners corporations in the dispute resolution process.

I am aware that this has been an extremely sensitive issue during the development of the legislation. I appreciate that there are those who oppose any change to the current legislation, which allows for owners corporations to prohibit the keeping of pets—it is worth noting that that prohibition has even extended to the prohibition on keeping a goldfish in a bowl in a unit—whilst there are many people who, having decided to


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