Following months of public submissions, new strata laws are coming into play. An industry body has drawn attention to the most important changes.
Over 90 new strata laws will come into effect in NSW by December this year, so the Real Estate Institute of NSW has highlighted some key changes that could impact the way property is managed.
The first major change is around parking, as owners corporations will be able to reach agreements with local councils to allow parking officers into their schemes to issue fines.
Almost all fines will be paid to owners corporations; however, they still have to go through the same tribunal process.
Owners corporations will be able to set limits on the number of people allowed to live in an apartment, provided the upper limit is at least two adults for each bedroom.
Owners corporations will be able to make strata by-laws to ban smoking throughout an entire strata building, and landlords will be held liable to their tenants for second-hand smoke exposure if residents allow their cigarette or barbecue smoke to drift into other units.
New strata by-laws will not remove a scheme’s ability to make its own rules about pets, but if the new-model by-law is adopted, the request to keep a pet cannot be unreasonably refused.
Filling cracks and hanging pictures or coat hooks will be allowed, while ‘minor alterations’ – such as kitchen or bathroom renovations, installing timber or tile floors and replacing wiring or power points – will no longer need a special resolution by-law.
Under the new rules, owners corporations will be able to get compensation through tribunal if a developer promised unrealistically low levies at the time of sale.
Strata manager contracts will now be limited to one year in the first year of a building’s life, and three years thereafter, since one-year initial contracts give strata managers ample time to prove themselves to the committee, while three-year contracts allow owners corporations to change strata managers more easily if the relationship is not working out.
Voting electronically via Skype calls and email – and even voting by old-fashioned snail mail – will be introduced.
Furthermore, tenants will be able to attend owners corporation meetings, no matter how many of the lots in their scheme are tenanted. They may even vote if they hold a proxy (giving them voting rights on a lot owner’s behalf).