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 will effect many of us. This s part 4 in our series summarising some of the major changes to strata laws and focuses on the changes in the legislation regarding strata by-laws.


By-laws: New model by-laws prescribed by the strata regulation. The arrangements differ depending on when the strata was formed. New model by-laws will apply to strata plans that were registered after 30 November 2016. Different new model by-laws apply to strata plans that were registered before 1 July 1997 (with any changes made to them in accordance with a previous legislation or new legislation prevailing over the new model by-laws. By-laws in force for strata plan that were registered between 1 July 1997 and 30 November 2016 will continue to operate as before, unless the owners corporation resolves otherwise as a special resolution.

By-laws: Owners Corporations of existing strata schemes must review their by-laws by 3 November 2017.

By-laws: A common property rights by-law must set out who is responsible for the maintenance of property. It must either provide that the owners corporation is to continue to be responsible for the maintenance, repair and upkeep or impose on the owner the lot the responsibility for that maintenance, repair and upkeep. Further, any money payable under a common property rights by-law by more than one owner to the owners corporation or to any person for or towards the maintenance, repair or upkeep of any common property is payable by those lot owners proportionately to their respective unit entitlements unless the common property rights by-law. You may recall that in part 1 of our series we noted a terminology change under the new legislation and that exclusive use by-laws now fall under the category of what is now called common property rights by-laws.

By-laws: By-laws can now limit the number of adults who live in a lot. However, the limit cannot be less than 2 adults per bedroom.

By-laws: By-laws cannot prevent a resident keep an assistance animal. However the owners corporation may now require a person to produce evidence that the animal is an assistance animal.

By-laws: Second hand smoke from a person smoking in a lot or on common property may now be determined a nuisance or hazard which may unreasonably interfere with the use or enjoyment by other users of the common property or another lot. For instance by-laws can now require that a person does not smoke on the common property (or only in a designated smoking area) and also require that if a person is smoking in their lot they must ensure that the smoke does not penetrate to the common property or any other lot.

By-laws: New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) may now impose penalties of up to $1,100 if a person commits a breach of a by-law after being given notice by the owners corporation requiring them to comply with the by-law. Further, if a person breaches the same by-law within 12 months of the penalty, NCAT may now impose a further penalty of up to $2,200.

By-laws: Landlords in a strata must give a copy of the by-laws to their tenants within 14 days of the tenant becoming entitled to possession of a lot and within 14 days of a change to the by-laws taking effect.


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 17 January 2017 and has not been revised to account for any changes in the law since that time.