Good News for Residents from the 2016 NSW Strata Law Reforms
Many of the existing NSW strata laws simply don’t reflect our modern way of living and little wonder – they’ve been in place for around 55 years! Fortunately over 90 much-needed changes to the strata law are set to come into effect on 30 November 2016. Here’s the good news for Sydney strata residents.
Pet owners rejoice
As of November there will be a new model by-law that lifts the automatic prohibition of pets. Over time this will improve your chances of having pets approved by your Sydney strata. However, this is a model by-law, so owners corporations can ultimately make their own choice to adopt it or not with their own conditions. Assistance animals and guide dogs are already permitted outside of this restriction, however the by-law reform will expand the definition to include assistance animals for psychiatric and other conditions.
Smoking and disturbance rules
Cigarette smoke has an unfortunate habit of drifting, particularly to neighbours above. The new model by-law is ideal for those who are disturbed by neighbours’ pesky cigarette smoke. If adopted by your owners corporation, the new ‘nuisance or hazardous smoking’ acts will allow a body corporate to issue a notice to anyone whose smoke is interrupting another resident’s enjoyment of their lot, and ultimately seek an order in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal if the activity continues.
Winning the battle in the parking war
If you’re sick of rogue city workers stealing your parking spots, this one’s for you! As of 30 November there will be a new option for owners corporations to enter into agreements with local councils to help control and issue fines to non-residents who park in your car park. This excludes enclosed and underground car parks.
Easier approval for owner renovations
If you’re an owner resident in a Sydney strata, the new streamlined approval process for renovations will be welcome news to you. Tier one includes cosmetic changes such as installing picture hooks, which you won’t need to seek formal approval from the owners corporation for. Tier two outlines minor renovations, such as changing floor coverings, and only 50% approval is required from those entitled to vote in order for the work to go ahead. Tier three includes major changes that are structural or will change the external appearance of a lot. In these situations, a minimum 75% approval vote will be required before the work can start. You should always consult your strata manager before you decide to renovate to make sure you understand the rules in place for your strata though.
The new overcrowding reform is being put in place to improve the safety and wellbeing of all strata residents. If your strata chooses to adopt the new by-laws, your owners corporation will be able to issue a notice to anyone with occupancy of over two adults per bedroom, and if ignored this can escalate to an order in the Tribunal and hefty fines.
Body corporate meetings
New NSW strata reforms are designed to make owners corporations meetings fairer and more accurate. Proxy votes will be better controlled to reduce proxy harvesting, owners will be able to attend meetings via Skype or phone, strata managers will have more accountability and tenants will have greater access to meetings. The bigger impact is fairer decisions all round.
Have more questions? The Jamesons team would be happy to help. Contact our strata managers in Sydney today on 02 8969 3300.