The property industry in Australia has become so popular and competitive this year with property prices increasing in all states. For this reason, many are choosing to renovate project buildings rather than build new or buy ready to move in properties.
However, in Strata communities approvals may need to be granted before you commence.
If you are going to renovate there are several things you need to be aware of.
There is no set legislation in Victoria which requires lot owners to seek permission to make improvements to their own lots – that is, elements of the lot which are the responsibility of the owner, and not common property (see our articles on common property for more information). But while there is no specific legislation in the Owners Corporation Act, it is possible individual building rules (based on model rules from the Act), may cover internal improvements. Some buildings do not cover the issue at all, while other buildings may have by laws which state any lot improvement must be passed by the committee before commencement.
The rule of thumb is that before you do anything at all (especially spend money) read the by-laws and then communicate with the Owners Corporation, Building Manager and your Owners Corporation Manager.
For example, if you are making major changes to the internal structure (for example tearing down a wall) you must get approval from your Owners Corporation. However, if you are making minor changes (for example painting your bedroom wall), there is no need for approval.
It is important to note that external renovations always need Owners Corporation approval.
What you can do may be restricted by by-laws, an architectural code, Heritage Listing or even council regulations.
If you would like more information specific to your scheme, contact your Owners Corporation Manager directly.