July’s proposed changes to the Strata Laws in NSW were met with a positive reaction from apartment and townhouse owners across the state, and they are about to come into effect at the end of this month.
If you already own or are planning on buying in an apartment development, there’s plenty to be happy about. The biggest raft of changes in forty years makes it easier to upgrade or renovate, as well as perform minor fixes like picture hanging and dealing with the pesky subject of pet ownership.
Here are just some of the changes about to be rolled out:
One of the simplest yet liberating changes affects those everyday fixes to areas that don’t affect common property, that previously required Owners Corporation approval. Now, you are free to: lay carpet, install built-in robes, paint, install and replace hooks, affix nails for picture hanging and fix up cracks and minor holes in your internal walls. For landlords this is a particular benefit, making it quick and easy to sort of minor repairs between unruly tenants.
A new category – Minor Renovations’ is now in place, requiring approval from the Owners Corporation by ordinary resolution. The means work such as renovating a kitchen, replacing or installing wood flooring, changing recessed light fittings or reconfiguring walls.
An interesting one. Owners Corporations will now be able to allow parking inspectors from the local council into their car parks, with the aim of dealing with commuter car park theft near popular railway stations. However, underground parking garages are unlikely to be affected.
Tech Squashes Proxy Voting
The days are numbered for executive committee bullying, with a new limit on the number of proxy votes any one person is allowed to hold. To accommodate for this, members will now be allowed to vote via email and Skype (hello, twentieth century) and by phone. So, if you can’t make it across town for that less-than-convenient 3pm Owners Corporation meeting, you can still have your say.
Changes to some of the basic residential by-laws include the recognition that cigarette smoke-drift between apartments and residences is officially unacceptable. And four legged friends will be happy about changes to the by-laws regarding pet ownership — buildings are now considered pet-friendly by default, with the Owners Corporation now having to decide otherwise.
Collective Sale and Renewal
In perhaps the most controversial of all the changes, 75% of owners in an apartment block will now be able to sell the whole building to developers, even if the remaining 25% of owners object. This is aimed at fast-tracking the redevelopment of older apartment buildings and maximising housing availability in key urban locations. It means, if the majority of owners want to sell and benefit from the increased capital gains of their property, they can do so more easily.
With considerable input and submissions from the general public, landlords and developers, this new legislation looks set to change the strata landscape for the good of everyone. And whilst you can’t please all of the people all of the time, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
The majority of the new changes take effect from November 30.
source: NSW Government.