Property 101: Top 10 NSW strata law changes in November 2016

Monday 05 Sep 2016

GUEST OBSERVER

Over 90 new strata laws will come into play later this year and of the 90 these are some changes that will most likely make a difference to your everyday.

1. PARKING 

Owners corporations will be able to reach agreements with local councils to allow parking officers into their schemes to issue fines to rogue parkers. 

Not only rogue parkers but residents who park over the lines of their parking spaces on to common property or leave their cars in visitor parking (however briefly) could also be ticketed. 

2. FINES

Almost all fines will be paid to the owners corporation, but this won’t be a cash cow for over-zealous committees; they still have to go through the same tribunal process. 

3. SHORT TERM RENTAL

Owners corporations can now set limits on the number of people allowed to live in an apartment provided the upper limit is no less than two adults for each bedroom. Failure to abide by this law could result in fines from $11,000 to 22,000.  

4. SMOKE 

Simply, an owners corporation can make a strata by-law banning smoking throughout an entire strata building. Orders can also be made against residents who smoke or allow their cigarette or barbeque smoke to drift into other units and landlords can be held liable to their tenants for second hand smoke exposure. 

5. PETS 

The new strata by-laws will not remove a scheme’s ability to make its own rules about pets. However, if the new model by-law is adopted, the request to keep a pet cannot be unreasonably refused. If the owners believe approval was unreasonably withheld, they can apply to the Tribunal. 

6. RENOVATIONS

New rules mean hanging pictures; coat hooks and filling cracks can go ahead while “minor alterations” – such as kitchen or bathroom renovations, installing timber or tile floors and replacing wiring or power points no longer need a special resolution by-law. But be aware there are other laws that allow owners corporations to charge owners for any damage caused to common property.  

7. LEVIES 

Owners corporations will be able to get compensation if a developer promised unrealistic low levies at time of sale. By the time the owners have to pay the actual bills for services, the developer is out of the picture. Now owners can pursue them for compensation through the tribunal (NCAT). 

8. STRATA CONTRACTS

Strata manager contracts will be limited to one year in the first year of a building’s life and three years thereafter. The one-year initial contract gives strata manager’s ample time to prove themselves to the committee … or otherwise. The subsequent three-year contracts allow owners corps to change strata managers more easily if the relationship isn’t working out.  

9. VOTES 

The biggest technological changes in our lives have been in communication. Voting electronically, via Skype calls, by email and even good old-fashioned snail mail will be introduced. 

10. TENANTS

Tenants now have a right under the new laws and will be able to attend owners corporation meetings, no matter how many of the lots are tenanted in their scheme. They may vote if they hold a proxy (giving them voting rights on a lot owner’s behalf). 

Adrian Mueller, is senior lawyer at J.S Mueller & Co and can be contacted here.

 

http://www.propertyobserver.com.au/forward-planning/advice-and-hot-topics/57602-property-101-top-10-nsw-strata-law-changes-in-november-2016.html

- Adrian Mueller