Over 90 proposed changes to strata legislation have been
announced by the NSW Government this year and if you're living
in strata accommodation you may be wondering if this legislation
will apply to you and what changes will be of specific interest to
you. Keep reading to (potentially) set your mind at ease, and learn
how you'll be affected.
Who does this legislation apply to?
Strata legislation and any associated proposed changes apply to
people who live in or own shared building accommodation or
property, including: apartments, townhouses, retirement villages,
offices and some dual occupancies.
What are the biggest changes I need to
The proposed strata legislation would allow 75% of apartment
owners in older buildings to agree to sell to a redeveloper,
regardless of the wishes of the remaining 25% of owners. Previously
a 100% vote was needed from all apartment owners. This change has
been prompted by a series of cases in which certain residents have
held out against other parties, making a joint sale impossible.
Although the government has said fair compensation will be offered
to those who are effectively 'forced' from their homes,
this change is being critiqued as benefiting developers over
There is no point watching 'Better Homes and Gardens' if
you have to jump through hoops for the smallest of changes. A
proposed three step permissions scheme would allow certain minor
work to be carried out without permission, however significant
renovations could occur with a simple 'go-ahead' and
majority vote from the owners' corporation. This will hopefully
ease pressure on individuals and prevent them from going through
lengthy procedures to do simple in-house renovations.
Smoking will be considered a potential "nuisance"
under the law, which will allow strata committees to make their own
rules regarding this. This gives more power to individual owners to
decide what to do about a neighbour's smoking habits. If you
are a smoker, or don't want to live in an environment with
people who smoke, you should consider how this could effect
Pets will now be allowed! Your delightful cat Albert may now
roam freely around your apartment. Subject of course, to the
decision of your strata committee; although they won't say
'no' to you unless they have 'good reason'. The aim
of this change is to create a default situation for apartment
owners that will essentially allow pet ownership under reasonable
The changes to strata legislation regarding overcrowding will
allow owners' corporations to create bylaws that limit the
number of people who can live in an apartment, with attached fines
for this increasing to $5500.00. The intention is to hopefully curb
overcrowding in apartment blocks near universities and prevent the
detrimental effects this kind of occupancy can have on neighbouring
apartments. Similarly, this will prevent owners from cramming too
many renters into smaller apartments, which can have detrimental
health and safety affects on renters and owners alike.
Under the changes, councils and owner corporations will be able
to have council parking inspectors fine people who park improperly
or illegally on common property. This has been critiqued as
dangerous for residents in that their own parking will be more
policed than ever before. Although aimed at non-residents' poor
parking, inviting inspectors onto the scene will force residents to
shape up their own bad habits - definitely a change to watch if you
think your own parking might come under the hammer!
Developers will also have to put down a bond of 2% of the value
of the building to cover potential defects after completion under
the proposed changes. This will hopefully protect buyers, in
particular first-timers. This means that owners of new apartments,
upon discovering defects, will no longer face the costs of
rectifying damage themselves or pursing costly court proceedings
against developers. A win for the individual, although it has been
critiqued as a nuisance for the developer.
Where to from here?
These proposed changes to the current strata legislation are
just some of many being introduced, all of which could impact you.
Read up on current changes on the
Fair Trading website or feel free to call our offices for more
information on where these changes may leave you.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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