GENERAL ENQUIRIES13 535 57
WOLLONGONG(02) 4221 9311
SHELLHARBOUR(02) 4295 8400

Insights

To deal with this growing area the government is implementing reforms to the existing law aimed at better meeting the needs of those impacted by strata regulation.

What stage are the reforms up to?

The government has sought submissions and feedback on options for reforming strata and community schemes in a process that commenced in December 2011. Submissions were received from a number of different stakeholders including owners, managing agents, caretakers, tenants, builders and developers.

The government has now released its Law Reform Position Paper outlining the reforms it proposes to make. These reforms have not yet been enacted as legislation however they provide an indication on the changes that the future legislation may ultimately herald.

What reforms are proposed?

The proposed reforms deal with:

  • management and administration of strata schemes;
  • defects and maintenance;
  • termination of a strata scheme at the end of its effective life;
  • common property repairs;
  • staged strata developments;
  • budgets and levies;
  • by-laws; and
  • managing disputes.

A number of the proposed changes have already triggered a great deal of public comment. We have listed a few of these below and clarified the proposal that has been made:

  1. Change to model by-laws regarding pets

    The model by-laws currently have 3 options for regulating pet ownership and commonly strata schemes select the option banning pets. The proposed new model by-laws will have only one pet by-law. This will provide for certain small pets to be kept without permission and others with permission. The owners corporation will not be able to withhold permission without reasonable grounds.

    This will only change the model by-laws. An owners corporation can still lawfully have a by-law banning pets.

  2. Change to model by-laws to deal with impacts of cigarette smoke

    The proposed model by-laws include a provision banning smoking in a lot or on the common property where the smoke causes a nuisance or hazard or otherwise interferes with the use or enjoyment of a lot by another resident.

    The law already prevents activities that cause a nuisance or hazard or otherwise interfere with the use or enjoyment of a lot by another resident. This proposed amendment merely clarifies that smoke drifts constitute such a nuisance or hazard.

  3. Allowing collective sale or renewal of strata scheme without unanimous support

    Currently the sale or redevelopment of a strata building can only be completed with unanimous support of all owners. The proposed reforms institute a procedure where sale or redevelopment may occur where 75% of the owners agree with the voting count based on 1 unit per lot rather than unit entitlement.

Further information

This article only details a select few of the proposed reforms. Further information can be obtained from Fair Trading. The Strata & Community Title Law Reform Position Paper is available for download at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au.

If you require legal advice arising from a strata scheme issue please do not hesitate to contact Kells.