Proposed Changes to NSW Strata Laws


In the first major alteration of strata laws since the Strata Titles Act was created in 1973, the NSW Government has proposed over 90 reforms that will affect some 2 million industry professionals, strata owners and residents living in strata schemes in New South Wales.

The reform addresses many issues that strata communities face, with the most notable changes being in the following areas:

Parking: The reform proposes that owners corporations and local councils be allowed to appoint council parking inspectors to patrol strata parking and issue fines to those who have parked in areas prohibited to them. These arrangements would be voluntary for schemes and councils and would require parking signs to be erected.

Overcrowding: The reform will allow owners corporations to create by-laws limiting the number of adults that can live in an apartment (providing that the limit is no less than 2 adults per bedroom.) This aims to address the growing concern surrounding overcrowded apartments, particularly in city centres. The reform would introduce a $5,500 fine for the first offence and an $11,000 fine for the second.

Pets: The reform proposes the introduction of a by-law requiring owners to get approval from the owners corporation to keep a pet, and includes a clause that prohibits an owners corporation from unreasonably refusing the owners request.

Compulsory Selling At 75% Agreement Rate: This addresses the issue of ageing buildings and proposes that an apartment block can be sold if only 75% of owners agree. Currently, there has to be a 100% agreement rate for the sale to go ahead. This process would only apply to existing schemes if the owners corporation agrees to opt in, and protections would be in place for elderly and vulnerable owner occupiers.

Smoking: The reform addresses the issue of balcony smoke drift, allowing it to be considered a “nuisance” if it affects another lot or common property. Under the reform, the owners corporation would be able to prosecute offenders.

Renovation: Current laws can make it hard for owners to carry out minor renovations on their lots. The proposed changes would introduce a three tier system under which certain minor work could be undertaken without permission, some renovations could be carried out with a majority vote of the owners corporation and major renovations would need special resolutions and by-laws to be carried out.

The draft bills are currently available at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au and are open for public feedback until August 12th.



Related post

Have You Had A Building Valuation Lately?
SSKB strata managers, looks at what a strata community needs to do when an OC or Body Corporate committee member resigns
What Happens When A Committee Member Resigns – Qld
SSKB strata managers, looks at what a strata community needs to do when an OC or Body Corporate committee member resigns
What Happens When A Committee Member Resigns? Vic

Recent Comments

2 Comments

Don Neale On August 10, 2015 | Reply

Can a Body Corp prohibit no smoking in a persons Unit.
If a Body Corp prohibits smoking on the premises including inside all units can it be defended.

    SSKB On August 19, 2015 | Reply

    Hi Don,

    While not including a specific reference to smoking, Section 117 of the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 requires that owners and occupiers using a lot not create a nuisance. It was this requirement that comprised the basis to a 2006 Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal decision in which lot occupiers were ordered to cease causing “a nuisance to occupiers of other lots by taking necessary action to prevent smoke odour from their cigarettes entering other lots and the common property”.
    Whilst there are no statutory laws that specifically regulate smoking in private areas of residential properties, there are two known NSW legal cases that indicate that it is within the power of the Owners Corporation to act to control smoking by both occupants and visitors through a multi-unit housing complex.
    Your Owners Corporation has the power to vote for a Non Smoking by-law for the building, including the internal area of a lot. If this by-law is passed at an AGM or EGM then the by-law should be adhered to. If residents continue to smoke within their lot, then the Executive Committee have the authority to issue written warnings to the occupants followed by a Notice to Comply with a By Law Breach if they continue. This would be the first steps in a dealing with the concerns of the Owners Corporation. An application to NCAT would then follow for an order to be made for the residents to comply.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.