Strata Laws – changes are coming!

If you own or rent a unit or townhouse you will most likely be affected by changes to strata legislation coming into effect mid 2016.

The NSW Government has made more than 90 changes which will affect the by-laws that owners and renters of strata units are obliged to follow.

It is important to understand what these changes are as they will impact on your rights and responsibilities applicable to your strata scheme. Some of these changes will affect rules pertaining to keeping pets, smoke drift, parking and owner renovations.

Keeping Pets
New model by-laws will allow the keeping of pets, subject to the approval of the owners corporation, such approval not to be unreasonably withheld. It will then be up to the owners corporation of a particular strata scheme to vote separately if they want to change the by-laws on keeping pets.

Smoke Drift
New model by-laws will enable an owners corporation to prevent a resident from allowing smoke to drift into another person’s unit. If the resident doesn’t comply, the owner’s corporation now have greater power to enforce this rule. Ultimately, an order from NCAT can assist the owner’s corporation in enforcing the rule on smoke drift.

Parking
An owner’s corporation is now able to approach their local council to help manage unauthorised parking. This should help in dealing with various parking disputes that owners corporations are frequently faced with.

Renovations
The new laws also address the kinds of permissions that are required before any renovations are made by an owner on their property.
Minor changes of a superficial nature, like installing a picture hook, now can be made without the approval of the owner’s corporation.
All other renovations will still need some level of permission and this will ultimately depend on if the renovations will affect only the inside of the owner’s property, or if the renovations will extend out to the outside of the unit.

For assistance with drafting strata by-laws, or advice on any of the above and how it may affect your strata scheme, contact Marta Smerechuk at Adams & Partners Lawyers.

Marta was a solicitor with Adams & Partners until April 2016.