NEW SOUTH WALES – Internal Improvements – is permission required? (Do I need Permission?)
You’ve been saving up, and you’ve decided renovating or improving your apartment sounds like a good idea. You know what you want to do, how much it will cost you, and approximately how long it will take before you will be living in recently renovated luxury. But before you start, do you need to check with your owner’s corporation about making improvements to your lot?
There is no set legislation in New South Wales which requires lot owners to seek permission to make improvements to their 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 Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (although section 110 covers minor renovations to common property by lot owners), it is possible individual building by-laws may cover internal improvements. Some buildings do not cover the issue at all, while other buildings have by laws which state any lot improvements must be passed by the committee before commencement.
SSKB would encourage owners considering making improvements to contact their building or community manager if they are unsure about the need to apply for approval. If work does not require approval, such as for simple things like internal painting, the owner’s corporation and building manager may still need to be notified in order to arrange access for tradespeople.
SSKB would recommend you check the specific by laws in your building before you undertake any improvements or renovations. It could save you time in the long run, by ensuring you do not begin improvements without the necessary permission of the owner’s corporation. Improvements such as putting in a hard floor (timber or tiling) is often subject to by-laws – hard floors are restricted in some properties to prevent disputes surrounding the noise created. Always check the by-laws in your strata scheme for any mention of needing to seek permission for improvements or renovations.
You should also consider notifying the committee and your fellow residents anyway, especially to let them know of potential noise during improvements, and the ongoing presence (including parking or access required) of tradespeople on the property. Communicating with fellow lot owners ensures everyone is kept up to date and informed of what is going on, which ultimately helps to promote a strong and happy sense of community and cooperation in your strata scheme.