BLOGS

Any information contained in a blog on this website is general in nature only. The content of any blog posted below reflects information which is known to us as at the date of the posting of the blog. Please be aware that the law regularly changes. Please do not rely on the general information contained in the below blogs, instead we recommend that you contact us to obtain legal advice tailored to your own specific situation.

 

Feb03

Changes to Strata Laws

Amanda Quin - Friday, February 03, 2017

Strata legislative changes

On 30 November 2016 the Schemes Management Act (2015), Strata Schemes Management Regulations (2016) and the Strata Schemes Development Act 2015 commenced.

There are over 90 changes to the Strata Laws and not all of them are significant. For example, Executive Committees are now called Strata Committees. However, some of the main changes to Strata laws are:

Collective Sale/demolition of strata property

  • There is a new process which could allow the whole building to be sold or demolished or replaced, if 75% of the owners agree to this occurring.
  • This new power does give greater flexibility to replenish an old crumbling building, but could mean that some owners may be forced to relocate regardless of whether they want to or not.
 

By-laws

 

 

 

  • There are new standard by-laws for new schemes. As previously, the by-laws may be modified or amended.
  • All pre-existing schemes must review their by-laws by 30 November 2017, but the new by-laws will not apply to the pre-existing schemes unless the pre-existing schemes choose to use them and register them.
  • Changes to by-laws will not be effective until they are officially registered with the Registrar General.
  • An owners corporation may pass a by-law that limits the number of occupants of a unit (to stop overcrowding). However any such by-law must permit a minimum of 2 people for each bedroom in the unit.
 

Renovations or other works by Owners

 

 

 

 

 

  • Under the previous strata laws, all works required approval from the Owners Corporation.
  • The new laws now divide works into cosmetic, minor and major.
  • If a change is cosmetic, a lot owner only needs to notify the committee and the committee does not need to approve the cosmetic change. Cosmetic works include: installing or replacing hooks, nails or screws for hanging paintings or other things on walls, installing or replacing handrails within the lot, painting, filling minor holes and cracks in internal walls.
  • If the works are minor, then approval may be granted by a vote of the committee ( which does not need to be at a general meeting. Minor works might include renovating a kitchen (but only if no structural work is required), installing or replacing wood or other hard floors, installing environmental measures (such as a clothesline or reverse cycle air conditioner). Whether these types of work are minor will depend on whether or not there is any structural work and whether any changes to the lot will be externally visible.
  • Major works, such as structural alterations, will require approval by a special resolution at a general meeting.
 

Strata Managers

 

  • When a new scheme is created, the initial Strata managers can only be appointed for the first year – to allow the new owners to determine if they are happy with the manager.
 

Abandoned Goods

 

 

  • There is a new process to follow that permits the Owners Corporations to sell or dispose of goods which have been abandoned on common property.
  • A disposal notice may be required to be placed on the goods (although this is not required for perishable food).
  • The owner of the goods is entitled to apply to NCAT for payment of the net proceeds from the sale of such abandoned goods, otherwise, the proceeds go to the administrative fund.
 

Unpaid levies

 

  • The Owners Corporation may either enter into payment plan with a non-paying lot owner or the Owners corporation can take recovery action by applying to the Local Court.
 

Fines

 

 

  • Higher upper limits on fines for breaches of general by-laws and new fines for overcrowding offences may be levied by NCAT.
  • The Owner’s corporation is to receive the money from such fines. The Owner’s corporation may enforce the fines in the Local Court.
  • Strata schemes are encouraged to arrange medication prior to taking proceedings at NCAT.
 

Meetings

 

 

  • If registered tenants make up more than 50% of the occupants of a Scheme, they can nominate a tenant to be their representative on the strata committee. However, in practice, hardly any owners register their tenants with the scheme, so it is unlikely that this new law will be of any practical value.
  • New limits on the number of proxies that any one person may hold. If the scheme has 20 lots or less, then only one proxy vote may be held per person. For larger schemes, the maximum number of proxies that may be held by one person is 5% of the total number of lots in the scheme.