COVID-19: What strata owners and occupiers need to know

Do you live in a Sydney strata building? There are many key actions and responsibilities that strata owners and occupiers need to abide by to keep a safe and healthy strata community.

We share expert advice from Strata Community Association (NSW) and Fair Trading NSW to help strata owners and occupiers navigate through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Self-Isolation

Under NSW Health guidelines, residents must self-isolate at home if they:

  • Have or are suspected to have COVID-19
  • Are living with someone suspected to have COVID-19
  • Have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19

Tenants that do become infected by COVID-19 or need to self-isolate are urged to notify the Strata Committee or Building Manager as a precautionary measure and stay within their lot. If you must leave your home, wear a surgical mask and keep a minimum of 1.5 metres away from others.

For residents that are required to quarantine themselves in their lot, but are not complying with this order, they can be reported to the police who can issue them with a fine.

Socialising in the complex

Under the Public Health Orders, social gatherings outside and inside the lot owners’ home are limited and individuals should stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Up to date information on the COVID-19 rules can be found on the NSW Government website. https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19

Visitors

Social gatherings are limited under the Public Health Orders. You can view the latest rules on gatherings on the NSW Government COVID-19 website. https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19

If you feel unwell, avoid visiting other people and stay at home. If visiting vulnerable people, continue to practice physical distancing and good hygiene. Personal trainers are allowed to visit, but must follow Public Health Orders and physical distancing rules.

Common areas and shared facilities

Common property areas should typically only be entered to access your home day to day, when you require emergency assistance or need to escape risk of harm or avoid injury or illness.

Shared facilities such as gyms, rooftop gardens, playgrounds, swimming pools, spas, saunas and barbeques can remain open as long as social distancing and good hygiene is practiced, including only one person allowed in every four-square metre of space.

If a shared facility is temporarily closed, then a notice must be posted to inform all residents.

Strata building precautions

It is a legislative requirement that Owners Corporations must act responsibly. All committees are recommended to act as if there is an infected case within the building and take necessary precautions. Tenants should also follow the government guidelines and the Building Manager’s precautions which may include the following:

• Install and use hand sanitiser at all lifts, reception areas, etc.

• If possible, use knuckles, elbows or a clean tissue to press elevator buttons and to open doors.

• Install signs in the lifts and lobbies reminding tenants about social distancing rules and good hygiene practice.

• Provide up to date information with notices posted in resident’s mailbox, under the front door or via email outlining what precautions are being put in place by the Owners’ Corporation (Body Corporate) e.g. hand sanitiser, extra cleaning, signs in the lifts.

New additional policies

To help manage the COVID-19 crisis, additional policies may also be set up by the Committee members in the strata buildings’ common areas and shared facilities such as:

Delivery of parcels to your unit

With more people staying at home, there’s likely to be an increase in deliveries. For those requiring to self-isolate or who are within a vulnerable group, parcels and deliveries may need to be left at the resident’s front door, rather than communal lobby areas.

Waste disposal

There might be restrictions in place such as avoiding using rubbish chutes or bin rooms and to double bag your rubbish. Alternate collection methods may need to be implemented for those who are house bound.

Shared laundry facilities

Owners Corporations are responsible for ensuring hygiene in communal laundry facilities which may require extra thorough cleaning or have restrictions on usage. Residents are also advised to take protective measures including wearing gloves, washing hands, disinfecting all surfaces used and maintain social distancing. A hot water wash should be used where appropriate along with laundry detergents containing a bleach compound.

Short-term rental accommodation

Holiday homes and holiday rentals still have limitations on the number of persons who can stay on the premise, unless they are all members of the same household.

New strata rules were introduced on Friday 10 April 2020 to assist Owners Corporations manage short-term rental accommodation. Owners Corporations can create by-laws to ban or restrict short-term rentals in lots, unless the lot is the host’s principal place of residence. An owner occupier is able to rent out their spare second bedroom as a short-term letting, or rent out the whole property if away temporarily. https://www.thestratacollective.com.au/news/nsw-strata-changes-to-short-term-letting/

Changes to strata laws, meetings and voting

To provide strata and community schemes with greater flexibility, the NSW Government has made temporary changes to the law which will stay in place for six months.

From Friday 5 June 2020, strata and community land laws have been changed so Owners Corporations and community associations can:

  • meet and vote at general and committee meetings electronically.
  • provide an alternative to affixing the common seal so documents can be validly executed with electronic signatures.
  • now have six months to hold the first annual general meeting for new schemes and to determine how to reimburse money transferred from one fund to another.

Even though all strata schemes and community associations can meet and vote electronically, some schemes may still hold in person meetings such as the annual general meeting AGM and vote by paper ballot, as long as physical distancing and good hygiene is maintained.

Ongoing NSW Strata Management

To find out more about how COVID-19 affects your Sydney strata property, contact your strata manager or strata managing agent at The Strata Collective today.

The Strata Collective

Level 3, 3 Spring St
Sydney, NSW 2000

Ph: 02 9137 2320

Strata Community Australia Member

Winner of the
SCA NSW Strata Community Awards 2018
«Small Business Award»

Congratulations to The Strata Collective and Principal, Rod Smith for winning such a prestigious award.

See the full story and photos here.

© 2019 The Strata Collective

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