The State of Strata Living in Sydney: Recent Changes & Updates

3 July 2020

With around 80% of the City of Sydney’s population calling apartments home, most of us are living in a strata community in 2020 – and that number is set to grow in the future.
A strata community can offer a great way of life and a friendly neighbourhood, thanks to the rules set by individual strata by-laws and state legislation. So how are these rules changing? As society has evolved, so have the rules for strata living.. particularly in the past five years.

The much-needed 2015 and 2016 overhaul
NSW strata laws saw a major shift five years ago, with the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 and the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016. These changes saw greater accountability for strata managers, new options for modern meeting and voting technologies, a clearer dispute resolution process, and new model by-laws to consider. These welcome new regulations generally streamlined the renovation approval process, improved the ability for strata schemes to manage unauthorised parking and nuisance smoking, and updated the process for the collective sale and renewal of a strata scheme.

The 2018 introduction of the NSW Building Bond Scheme
On 1 January 2018 a new Strata Building Bond and Inspections Scheme was introduced as part of these measures, which increased the accountability of any developers building new strata properties from that date forward. This measure was designed to address the problem of building defects in strata buildings, such as the issues that saw Opal Tower residents evacuated from their homes on Christmas Eve of that year.

Language updates for NSW strata schemes
There have been some terminology changes for NSW strata living, as well as the broader legislation changes. These language updates include the following:

  • An executive committee is now known as a strata committee.
  • A body corporate is now known as an owners corporation.
  • A sinking fund is now known as a capital works fund.

2020 changes to short term stay regulation within NSW strata schemes
Short term stay services such as Airbnb have been the subject of much debate by NSW strata schemes in recent years. Some neighbours have had issues with noisy or inconsiderate short term guests, while councils and strata legislation have long debated the issue of how to manage these matters fairly.

As of 10 April 2020, owners corporations in NSW can now adopt by-laws that prohibit short-term rental accommodation in their strata scheme, but only in the situation where the lot is not the host’s principal place of residence. As with all new by-laws, this measure would need to be approved by at least 75% of owners within an owners corporation to come into effect in their strata scheme.

There are two major NSW strata updates to watch out for in the near future on this topic. These include:

  • A new Code of Conduct for the short-term rental accommodation industry, which will present obligations for hosts, guests, online booking platforms and letting agents. It will also include a complaints process for breaches to the Code.
  • New state-wide changes to the planning laws, including what defines short-term rental accommodation.

Here at Jamesons Strata Management we work hard to stay updated on the latest strata reforms and updates, and to share these with you so you can live well in strata. You might like to check out the strata services we provide, and find out how easy it can be to change your strata manager.