What the NSW Government is calling ‘once in a generation strata law reform’ is about to take effect. Those with a connection to a strata scheme already might have contributed to the
Government’s consultation that dates back to December 2011.
The end result of that work passed through the NSW Parliament last year, with the change taking effect from the end of this month.
A strata scheme is a building or collection of buildings that has been divided into ‘lots’. Lots can be individual units or apartments, townhouses or houses.
When a person buys a lot, they own the individual lot but also share the ownership of common property with other lot owners. A strata scheme or owners’ corporation is formed to help manage the site collectively.
NSW Fair Trading oversees and regulates the system.
More than 90 changes have been made to the laws, they include:
*The records of the owners’ corporation must be kept for 7 years.
*The building manager, leasing agent and anyone connected with the original owner of the strata scheme are not eligible to be appointed or elected to a strata committee.
*Each annual general meeting must consider building defects and modifications.
*The owners’ corporation can conduct meetings via the use of technology such as teleconference or Skype.
*Tenants will be entitled to attend general meetings, but not to speak unless authorised.
*Owners will be able to carry out “cosmetic work” like painting, laying carpet and installing built in wardrobes or blinds, without the approval of the owners’ corporation.
*There is no automatic ban on keeping pets.
*The developer is required to give the NSW Department of Finance a building bond before an occupation certificate is issued. The building bond may be used by the owners’ corporation to fix defective work.
The full picture and extent of the changes is impossible to detail here, and as always there is detail in the fine print that owners and tenants can research further.
You can get a head start on that discussion via the NSW Fair Trading website or the Real Estate Institute of NSW.