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Changing Strata By-laws

Changes to common property

If you want to make renovations that affect common property, you may need to consider changing the strata by-laws in your scheme. This could also include creating or changing by-laws about who is responsible for maintaining common property. Moreover, it may also cover getting the right to use a part of the common property exclusively or getting other special privileges.

What is a by-law?

By-laws are rules that all residents living in your strata scheme (your building or complex) must follow. Moreover, strata by-laws make sure that everyone is safe, and no one is treated unfairly.

All strata schemes have their own unique by-laws. By-laws are created by the owners corporation (previously known as body corporate), which has a choice of using model by-laws, creating their own by-laws, or using a mix of both.

Common strata by-laws also include rules about pets, smoking, short-term rental accommodation (like Airbnb), parking, balconies and noise.

When you purchase a property in a strata scheme, you should receive a copy of the by-laws. If you did not receive a copy, then ask the strata committee secretary or strata manager. However, if you are renting, the agent should provide you with a copy of the by-laws.

Renovations

If you want to conduct renovations, you do not normally need approval from the owners corporation for cosmetic work. For example, painting the walls inside your apartment, laying carpet, and installing built-in wardrobes. These are cosmetic renovations. However, it is usual for by-laws to apply for larger scale renovations and projects.

an image of an architect looking at the model of a strata property and considersing changing strata by laws

Minor renovations need approval

You will need to contact the owners corporation, strata committee or strata managing agent and request permission to make minor renovations. This includes kitchen renovations (e.g., installing or removing cupboards), or changes to internal walls or changes to recessed light fittings, replacing flooring (e.g., removing carpets, wiring, cabling, power points, glazing, air conditioning, ceiling insulation)—anything that is further than the paint or floors ‘inwards.’

In addition, you will need to show the strata committee or strata manager:

  1. plans of the work and a timetable,
  2. the qualifications and details of the tradespeople who will do the work, and
  3. an acoustic certificate to show sound insulation if you propose to change the flooring.

Moreover, the strata members will need to vote on your proposed changes. However, you will require more than 50% to move forward with the changes.

Major renovations

Renovations that do not fall within the list of minor renovations in s110 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW) and s28 of the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016 (NSW) are considered major renovations.

Major renovations need a special resolution vote at an annual general meeting (AGM) or other general meeting of the owner’s corporation. Moreover, you must have at least 75% approval from the members for your proposal to be approved.

Major renovations also include changes that affect the outside or structure of the dwelling or strata property. It may also include changes that require waterproofing, changes to ceilings, and any structural changes that require Council approval.

Changing strata by-laws or introducing a new by-law

  1. Draft a new by-law.
  2. Prepare a Motion.
  3. Submit the motion and the new by-law to the strata manager.
  4. The strata manager will call an extraordinary general meeting.
  5. The members of the Owners Corporation will vote on the new by-law based on their unit entitlement. Minor renovations will require a majority vote, whilst major renovations will require a special resolution (75% vote).
  6. When passed, submit the consolidated by-laws to NSW Land Registry Services for registration within 6 months after the resolution has been passed.
an image of a young couple with their real estate agent pointing at an available strata unit and explaining changing strata by-laws for renovation

Need help with Changing your Strata By-laws?

AussieLegal offers a range of affordable legal kits and paralegal services to help you address a range of legal matters. This includes a DIY Works Strata By-law (NSW) kit that enables you to create your own works by-laws and motions in minutes.

Call us on 1300 728 200 to discuss your situation with one of our consultants.

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