2016 saw a major overhaul of strata legislation in NSW with over 90 changes. With more than a quarter of NSW’s population living or owning in a strata these changes effect many of us. A summary of some of the main changes are in this post and in various posts to follow. This post focuses on renovations to units and the strata committee.
Renovations: Owners are now able to undertake out “cosmetic work” to their apartment without the approval of the owners corporation. Cosmetic work includes installing or replacing picture hooks, painting, laying carpet and installing or replacing built-in wardrobes, blinds or curtains.
Renovations: Owners are now also able to carry out “minor renovations” with the approval of the owners corporation by ordinary resolution at a general meeting. Minor renovations include installing wood or hard floors, renovating kitchens, installing wiring and reconfiguring walls.
Renovations: Renovation works that are not “cosmetic work” or “minor renovations”, such as structural changes, changes the external appearance of an apartment or work involving waterproofing requires the approval of the owners corporation by special resolution or as authorised in the strata’s by-laws.
Terminology changes: Under the new laws, the owners corporation’s executive committee will be known as the “strata committee” and the sinking fund will be renamed the “capital works fund”. Exclusive use by-laws are fall under the category of what is now called “common property rights by-laws”.
Email: Owners can now advise the owners corporation that their email address is the address for service of notices:
Strata committee – eligibility: Building managers, leasing agents and anyone connected with the original owner of the strata scheme are not eligible for appointment or election to the strata committee, unless they disclose the connection to or own lots in the strata.
Strata committee – conflict of interest: A strata committee member must disclose any direct or indirect financial interest they have in a matter considered by the strata committee if that interest appears to raise a conflict with the member’s duties as a strata committee member. A strata committee member must also not be present during any deliberation or decision on any matters in which they may have such conflict of interest unless the strata committee otherwise determines. This is normal good governance principle and similar to the requires of public company directors.
Strata committee – good faith: A strata committee member does not incur personal liability for anything which has been done in good faith under strata legislation. This liability is the responsibility of the owners corporation. This similar to the situation with directors of companies.
This article is for general information only and not legal advice. Legal advice should be obtained before taking any action or otherwise rely upon the content of this article in any way. This article was prepared on 10 January 2017 and has not been revised to account for any changes in the law since that time.