In our latest edition of the Strata North newsletter we are going to look at a topic that has been subject to a lot of discussion in our recent AGM’s – what approvals do owners need to carry out renovations to their lot?
As part of the revamp of the Strata Schemes Management Act, the NSW Government sought to make the planning and approval process easier for owners in Strata Schemes to understand, whilst also ensuring that adequate protections are in place for other owners in the Scheme.
Under the new Act, renovations are classified under 3 different categories – cosmetic work, minor renovations and major renovations. Each of these has its own type of approval process, so owners planning to renovate their lot need to be aware of these before proceeding with any works:
109 of the Strata
Schemes Management Act 2015 deals with cosmetic work.
Cosmetic work includes, but is not limited to, work for the following purposes—
work to the interior of the unit which is superficial in nature would also be
classified as cosmetic work.
No approval is required for works of this nature.
Things to remember with cosmetic works:
110 of the Strata
Schemes Management Act 2015 deals with minor renovations.
Minor renovations include, but are not limited to, work for the purposes of the following—
Note: The above items would not be considered a ‘minor renovation’ if
it involves structural changes, changes to the external appearance of a lot or
Approval is required from the Owners Corporation for works of this nature. A motion granting approval is typically passed at a General Meeting, however the motion can be passed at a Strata Committee meeting if the Owners Corporation have previously passed a by-law delegating authority to the Strata Committee to approve ‘Minor Renovations’.
If the works are to be approved at an Owners Corporation meeting, you will need to submit to your strata manager a suitably worded motion, together with any relevant information including pictures, plans, start dates and details of tradespeople undertaking the works.
The motion can then be added to the meeting agenda. If the motion is to go on the agenda for an upcoming meeting then no additional fee will be payable. However, if you require the motion to be approved before the next scheduled meeting then an EGM can be convened – note a fee is payable for additional meetings.
Things to remember with minor renovations:
Act does not specifically define ‘Major Renovations’ and therefore all works
which do not fall within the categories of minor renovations or cosmetic work
are deemed major renovations.
Some examples of works that would be deemed major renovations include:
Section 108 of the Strata Schemes Management Act requires that a common property rights by-law be registered before an owner can undertake major renovations. The principal reason for this is to ensure that responsibility for the future maintenance and repair of the works and the common property affected by the works passes to the lot owner.
However, it also places conditions on the works being completed (such as obtaining consent from local Council (where applicable), use of suitably qualified tradespeople to undertake the work and to works to be completed in accordance with the approved plans) and formalises the Owners Corporation’s approval of the works.
A special resolution at a General Meeting is required for a by-law granting approval for major renovations. This means that no more than 25% of the lots entitled to vote, vote against the resolution.
If the motion is to go on the agenda for an upcoming meeting then no additional fee will be payable. However, if you require the motion to be approved before the next scheduled meeting then an EGM can be convened – note a fee is payable for additional meetings.
The Owners Corporation has the right to request rectification if an owner undertakes works without approval or not in accordance with the approved plans.
Things to remember with major renovations:
Hopefully this article has helped to clear up some of your questions around renovations.