Completing renovations in your home can be complicated if you live in a strata building. Approval is required depending on the type of work to be carried out. Strata law in NSW distinguishes between three types of work:
- Cosmetic work
- Minor work
- Major work.
Cosmetic work is the day-to-day work involved in maintaining your home. Such work includes:
- Interior painting
- Fastening hooks or screws into the walls of your apartment for hanging frames
- Remedying superficial defects on internal walls (holes, cracks etc)
- Installing or replacing handrails, built-in wardrobes, internal blinds and curtains
- Laying carpet.
Other works can be ratified as cosmetic works if the owners corporation passes a by-law defining them as such.
You do not need to seek approval to carry out cosmetic works. It is, however, the your responsibility to ensure that the works are carried out in a competent and proper manner and that any damage caused to common property as a result of these works is repaired.
Minor renovations involve more substantial works on the strata lot, including:
- Changing recessed light fittings
- Kitchen renovations
- Installing or replacing wiring, cabling, power or access points
- Work involving reconfiguring walls.
You are required to obtain approval from the owners corporation to carry out minor works. Such approval should be given by way of a resolution at a general meeting, with over 50 percent of the votes in favour of approval. Alternatively, depending on the structure of your strata scheme, the strata committee may be authorised (by way of a by-law passed by the owners corporation) to approve minor works.
To obtain approval, you are required to give written notice of the proposed renovations to the owners corporation, including:
- Copies of any plans as well as details of the work to be carried out
- Duration and times of work
- Details of persons carrying out the work
- Arrangements in place to dispose of any rubbish or debris.
Once again it is the owner's responsibility to ensure that the works are carried out in a competent manner and that any damage caused to common property as a result of these works is repaired.
Major renovations are substantive works on the property including:
- Structural changes
- Works impacting the external appearance of the property, such as exterior painting
- Works requiring approval under other laws
Major works, like minor works, require approval by the owners corporation, however there are differences in the approval process. The owner must give at least 14 days written notice of the proposed renovations. Approval by the owners corporation must also be given by way of a special resolution, requiring 75 percent of votes to be in favour of approval.
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.