Seniors fear eviction under pro-development law

PENSIONERS fear they could be evicted from their homes after the NSW Parliament passed a raft of pro-development changes to strata laws.

Developers will now be able to take over an entire apartment block if only three-quarters of its residents agree to sell, forcing the remaining quarter to sell up against their will.

Labor and the Greens opposed the bill, but it passed with the support of the Christian Democrats and the Shooters and Fishers.

Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association research and advocacy manager Amelia Christie said older Australians were scared they would be forced prematurely into retirement villages.

"If you have a block of four units, now it will only take three of them to push the remaining person out," she said.

"It's a huge change to property rights and we are very concerned it makes unit owners second-class owners.

"They're the ones doing their bit for urban density in the first place by living in apartments.

"Vulnerable older people who just want to live out their days in their own home might not get that option.

"They may not be able to afford to buy back into whatever replaces it, and will be pushed away from their social ties, local shops, doctors and all the things they know."

Although the laws aim to increase urban density, Ms Christie said there was no guarantee a developer would replace an existing unit block with housing.

"A block of eight could turn into four luxury apartments or a car park if they think it's more profitable," she said.

"The big concern is it allows private citizens to compulsorily acquire somebody's home.

"That's a power only the government has had up until now, and only when it's in the greater good - for hospitals, roads and things like that."

Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello said rules would come into effect in July next year.

"The new laws will modernise collective decision making processes, increase protections against unresolved building defects and improve outdated regulation impacting on renovations," he said.

-APN NEWSDESK



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