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Alternative signing options for strata and community schemes – COVID-19

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Temporary Regulations introduced on 5 June 2020 provide more flexibility for strata schemes and community associations during COVID-19 restrictions. The changes prescribe an alternative method for schemes to execute documents, allowing specified persons to sign instruments rather than affixing the common seal.

These changes, together with recent amendments to the Conveyancing Rules, mean that owners corporations and community associations can sign land dealings and plan documents electronically.

New clauses 72 of the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016 and 24 of the Community Land Management Regulation 2018 allow the persons who are ordinarily required to witness the affixing of the common seal to sign the instrument instead. Where two signatures are required, the parties must sign in the presence of each other (either physically or via audio visual link), effectively acting as both signatory and witness.

For strata schemes, this means that an instrument may be signed as follows:
  • Where the owners corporation comprises only one owner, by that owner or the managing agent.
  • Where the owners corporation comprises two owners, by both of those owners, or the managing agent.
  • Where the owners corporation comprises more than two owners, by
    • two persons, being owners of strata lots or members of the strata committee, that the owners corporation determines for the purpose; or
    • in the absence of a determination, the secretary of the owners corporation and any other member of the strata committee; or
    • the managing agent.

Similar requirements apply for community, neighbourhood and precinct associations, subject to the number of members in each association.

If signed in this way the instrument must indicate the date on which it was signed, the name of the signatory/witness and their relationship to the owners corporation/association.

Owners corporations and community associations can use this alternative signing method to execute land dealings and by-laws, but must comply with requirements for electronic signing under the Conveyancing Rules (COVID-19 Pandemic Amendment).

Please see the following publications for more information about electronic signing requirements:

For more information about how strata schemes can sign instruments, please see clause 72 of the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016 and s273 Strata Schemes Management Act 2015. For more information about how community associations can sign instruments, please see clause 24 of the Community Land Management Regulation 2018 and s8 Community Land Management Act 1989.

These are temporary measures. Temporary electronic signing and witnessing provisions for land dealings apply until 23 October 2020, unless repealed earlier (see Note 1, Conveyancing Rules – (COVID-19 Pandemic) Amendment – April 2020).