Aussies love a good renovation, and many of us are constantly thinking of ways to freshen up our homes. But if you’re living in strata (as so many of us do), it’s vital you consider whether you’ll need strata approval before swinging that sledgehammer. Generally speaking, anything within the airspace of your unit is yours to improve upon, but there can be important restrictions and considerations to take into account. If you renovate without the appropriate approval, you could risk financial penalties – or you could be asked to undo all that hard work.
In 2016, NSW Strata Management Act renovation rules were updated to allow a range of cosmetic changes without requiring prior approval.
The first place to look is to your strata by-laws for any specific rules regarding noise, flooring, renovations and other aspects that might relate to your home improvement plans. Here’s a quick rundown of whether you’re likely to require prior approval – however, it’s essential to check with your strata manager to be sure!
|Changing taps, faucets or shower heads||In NSW these changes can generally be carried out without the need for approval, unless the taps or fixtures are located within the walls or common property.|
|Updating your kitchen cabinetry||Kitchen renovations fall under the minor renovations section, you should seek more information from your strata manager prior to carrying out the renovations.|
|Changing doors||Internal doors can typically be changed without approval, however front and external doors will typically require approval first.|
|Replacing curtains or blinds||Feel free! Window coverings can be updated at your discretion as the lot owner, as long as these changes don’t affect the structure or look of the building itself, keeping the colours in accordance with your owners corporation is the best option.|
|Replacing flooring||Carpeting generally won’t need approval, however check with your by-laws about any soundproofing requirements. This may be particularly important if you’re considering timber flooring.|
|Knocking down an internal wall||You’ll certainly require approval from your owners corporation first, including consulting with an engineer.|
|Retiling your bathroom||You should definitely seek approval for anything involving water such as tiling and plumbing. As the owner you’ll be responsible for future repairs and maintenance of the area, so keep this in mind.|
|Painting walls||You can generally paint, hammer in nails and fill small cracks and holes without approval, but be sure to ask if you’re planning to cut holes in walls.|
Even once you have approval from your owners corporation, it’s also important to consider other residents and owners. Before you begin your renovations check any by-laws that might restrict noise at certain times, and keep power tool usage within permitted hours. It’s also important not to block access to any common property or carpark areas.
We’re here to help answer any questions you might have about strata management, renovations and other strata queries. See how we can support your strata scheme, and contact us if you’re thinking about making a change.