The NSW Strata Legislation changed on 30 November 2016. The team at The Strata Collective has worked extremely hard to make sure we are able to well advise our owners of the specific changes to their Strata Management service. With the legislation changes, one of the main aims in the NSW Office of Fair Trading Legislation white paper was to streamline and facilitate easier renovations within Strata Buildings (white page found here – see page 26 item 2.9). This was to ensure that Strata Managers can quickly turn around renovation applications for their owners an allow owners greater flexibility to change the inside of their apartment.
The team at The Strata Collective believes that the requirements for strata renovations in Sydney within Strata apartments have been clarified however not simplified. The Strata Collective Managing Director Rod Smith believes “this is an unfortunate miss by the Office of Fair Trading. Most strata buildings don’t want to tie their owners up in red tape and would prefer to deal with strata renovation applications at Strata Committee level, after having received assurances around the structural ability to complete the proposed work as well as a commitment to provide copies of insurances and warranties to protect the Owners Corporation from future claims.”
Renovations now fall into one of three categories:
- Cosmetic work (as defined in Section 109 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 “SSMA”). All such renovations do not require Owners Corporation approval (ie owners can simply proceed with the listed works).
- Minor renovations (as defined in Section 110 of the SSMA). All such renovations can be Ordinary Resolution at a General Meeting or approval by the Strata Committee if the Owners Corporation has delegated this function. The best way to delegate this function to Strata Committees is by the Owners Corporation adopting a works by-law with a renovation form. This will simplify the process for Strata Committees enormously.
- Works that are not Cosmetic Work or Minor Renovations that require a special resolution and often a by-law as well. These works are listed in Section 109 (5) B-H of the SSMA
The below list is a good guide for owners on the level of authority required for different types of strata renovations:
|TYPE OF WORK||APPROVAL REQUIRED|
|Air Conditioning (split system)||Ordinary Resolution at a General Meeting or approval by the Strata Committee if the Owners Corporation has delegated this function|
|Bathroom Renovation excluding waterproofing that only involve changing fixtures located within the lot space of the bathroom (taps, vanity)||Cosmetic Renovation – no approval required|
|Bathroom Renovation including waterproofing (retiling, relocating plumbing)||Special Resolution at a General Meeting accompanied by an owner prepared by-law|
|Blinds or curtains, hooks and built ins||Cosmetic Renovation – no approval required|
|Ceiling insulation||Ordinary Resolution at a General Meeting or approval by the Strata Committee if the Owners Corporation has delegated this function|
|Changes to the external appearance of a lot||Special Resolution at a General Meeting|
|Double Glazed windows||Ordinary Resolution at a General Meeting or approval by the Strata Committee if the Owners Corporation has delegated this function|
|Fly Screen||Cosmetic Renovation – no approval required. Some might argue this is an external change however fly screens are unlikely to be interpreted that way|
|Kitchen renovation with no penetration of slab or walls|
|Installation of a bathroom exhaust fan|
|Installation of recessed light fittings|
|Pergola||Special Resolution at a General Meeting accompanied by an owner prepared by-law|
|Security Screens||Cosmetic work however Owners Corporations should control the asthetics of applications via an architectural code placed in the by-laws to ensure a special resolution is not required for each security screen application|
|Solar Panels||Special Resolution at a General Meeting accompanied by an owner prepared by-law|
|Wiring or access point changes|
There are many possible renovations that could be completed by an owner and we recommend that our owners contact their Strata Manager for further information on their application.
The Strata Collective Renovation form is attached here for our clients. For non-clients, please feel free to use this form (which has The Strata Collective’s logos removed).
Regarding how to proactively manage owner renovations, The Strata Collective team believes that Strata Managers need to be proactive and discuss with their Strata Committees the option of emailing all owners three months prior to the AGM. This will provide sufficient warning that the AGM is coming up and that owners who wish to renovate their apartment should contact the Strata Manager to start the renovation approval process. By handling most renovations once a year at the AGM, this will save the owners time and money and reduce the need to call one off general meetings throughout the year (at a cost to the applicant or Strata).
If you have any specific questions regarding renovations in strata, please speak to your Strata Manager at The Strata Collective.