We know that the Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has had a financial impact on many Australians, including those who live in New South Wales’ many strata properties. We know this might be a tough time for many who might be out of work or experiencing a significant reduction in income. We’ve had several enquiries coming into our offices in past weeks about whether strata levy fees can be paused or postponed in response to COVID-19.
The simple answer is that unfortunately, strata legislation in New South Wales does not permit the ‘pausing’ of strata levies. However, there are two options available to you which might help you in this time. These options aren’t exclusive of each other, so you can consider both as applicable.
Requesting a payment plan
As a strata property owner, you can submit a request to your strata committee for a payment plan to be put in place. This won’t pause your strata levy fees, but it could lengthen the time you would have to pay these fees up to a maximum of 12 months. Your strata committee would need to agree to this decision in the short term and the arrangement would need to be ratified at the next owners corporation meeting. To discuss the options available for payment plans, you can get in touch with your strata manager. It could well be worth providing some basic details on your situation to help your strata committee to consider your request.
Requesting the waiving or removal of interest on unpaid strata levies
The second option available to you is to request that interest on unpaid strata levies be waived or paused, which may be useful if you’ve missed a payment or are about to. Once more, you can get in touch with your strata manager and provide some basic information about your situation so your strata committee can consider this option. If the decision is made to pause or waive interest on unpaid strata levies, this would need to be ratified at the next meeting of the owners.
Your owners corporation may be considering other ways to reduce ongoing costs for your strata property, though important services such as cleaning and maintenance will need to be maintained to keep the property in good order. If your owners corporation can put any of these options in place, it might help to provide some relief with future levies. We’ve provided owners corporations with guidance on these options.