As Australia’s population continues to grow at a staggering rate, more and more people are choosing to live in strata properties in our capital cities. In fact, according to the Australian National Strata Data 2018 report, 15% of Australia’s population are currently living in strata properties. However, the appeal of inner-city living means that overcrowding is a growing concern for strata owners and residents.
What is overcrowding?
Overcrowding occurs when the number of occupants in a property exceeds the amount of designated sleeping spaces. Generally, in New South Wales, it’s considered that there should be a maximum of two adults per bedroom. Therefore, overcrowding would occur if three or more adults were living in a bedroom.
“Hot-bedding” can also be another form of overcrowding and occurs when occupants are using the same beds in rotating shifts.
The negative effects of overcrowding
Overpopulation in a strata property isn’t just an issue of “feeling uncomfortable”. The simple fact is that it has very real and rippling effects such as:
- Decrease in property value
- Increased utility costs
- Excess strain on common property and amenities
- Increase building operating expenses
- Safety risks
- And much more
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How to handle overcrowding
If you feel like your strata property is overpopulated, there are a few things you can do to approach the matter.
1. Speak to your building or strata manager
There will be a person in charge of monitoring and managing occupancy within your strata building. Speak to them about your concerns and present any evidence you have of overcrowding.
2. Be aware of your local legislation
Although Australian laws can vary on the issue of overcrowding, more and more cities are starting to crack down on the issue. For example, in 2006 the City of Sydney introduced a condition for new apartments that limited the number of adult occupants per bedroom to two. However, be aware that it can be difficult to restrict occupancy between residents and their family members, partners or caregivers.
3. Propose new by-laws
If the issue of overcrowding is not addressed by your strata’s current by-laws, you will want to bring this up at your next AGM. You will want the new by-laws to cover the maximum occupancy of lots, conditions of tenanted lots, prohibition of the subdivision of rooms within a lot, restriction of common property use by unauthorised tenants, and restrictions on subletting.
Do you have concerns about overcrowding and overpopulation on your strata property? Get in touch with our team today for more information on our range of body corporate services or explore our document bank for more information.