With major reforms set to come into effect on 30 November, what do property managers need to know?
NSW Fair Trading has reminded real estate agents and property managers that the new strata laws are almost here and they should prepare so they “are across the detail to help their clients transition smoothly to the new laws”.
The reforms aim to bring strata laws up-to-date with modern living and include new parking management options, a clearer approval process for renovations, new model by-laws that strata schemes can use to help them consider any updates to their own by-laws and new online options for voting and attending meetings.
In addition, the reforms allow for the collective sale of a strata scheme if 75 per cent of lot owners agree, subject to certain requirements. There are also new accountability measures and obligations for strata managing agents, including new disclosure requirements and limits in appointment terms.
NSW Fair Trading said that even “if you don’t own or manage strata property”, it’s likely the schemes will increase in prominence for those who work in property-related industries.
“There are more than one million people who live in strata in New South Wales and this number is growing,” the department said.
NSW Fair Trading also wants to clear up some confusion, regarding pets and smoking for instance, around the reforms.
Tenants will still need the landlord’s permission to keep a pet on the premises and the landlord cannot accept a pet if the strata scheme does not allow it.
“However, it is up to each strata scheme to decide which updates they want to make to their by-laws, if any. So, the owners decide if they wish to keep or change their existing pet rule,” NSW Fair Trading said.
Misconceptions about what the reforms will mean for smokers were also clarified.
“Smoking is not banned in all strata schemes. However, occupants must not create a nuisance or hazard or stop others enjoying the strata complex. If smoking is offending someone, the smoker could be taken to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal and penalised. Also, the model by-laws include an example rule restricting smoking. Owners corporations may adopt it or develop their own smoking by-law.”
There is also a myth that the impending reforms will enable tenants to vote at owners corporation meetings, which NSW Fair Trading is keen to dispel.
“Tenants will have the right to attend and be notified of upcoming meetings. The owners corporation may agree to tenants speaking on a particular matter. However, a tenant may only vote if they hold a proxy to vote on a lot owner’s behalf.
“In schemes where at least half the lots are tenanted, a non-voting tenant representative can be nominated to the strata committee. This can be helpful so that tenants can identify issues, for example, repairs to fix water leaks affecting common property.”
PMs were also reminded that the tenancy agreement laws have now changed and standard tenancy agreements have been updated.