Win for tenants in new era of strata management

After five years of consultation and a raft of drafts and amendments, New South Wales is set to see new house rules when it comes to strata living, and the changes could have flow-on effects throughout Australia.

Here’s the lowdown on what the new laws mean for living in a shared community.

The legislation

On November 30 over 90 new laws came into effect in New South Wales after Fair Trading revamped the Strata Schemes Management Act.

The package of amendments was over five years in the making and sets out new guidelines for body corporates looking to introduce rules for their community via by-laws.

Designed to foster safe and harmonious living, the Strata Management Scheme laws can be used as a model for Strata Committees when setting their own rules, and the effect may impact everything from the backyard barbecue to apartment renovations, according to News Limited.

What’s covered

The new laws are extensive and impact owners, tenants and Strata Committees alike. The reforms to the Strata Management Act have raised some of the most contentious problems in strata living and look to deal with them more effectively. Under the amendments Strata Committees are required to review their scheme in the next 12 months.

With over two million New South Wales residents calling an apartment home, the changes will affect many, and could act as a blueprint for other states to follow suit.

The complete information about what the changes mean is available at NSW Fair Trading, but among the items that may affect tenants are the following reforms:

Pets

It will now be easier for Strata Committees to permit pets within their complex, catering to the growing demand for residents to share apartment living with their four-legged friends. This won’t mean pets are automatically allowed, but now committees have greater choice when it comes to whether they permit furry friends in their community, and under what circumstances.

Nuisance smoking

Smoking will be more stringently dealt with under the new laws, with nuisance smokers liable for a fine of up to $1100 for repeat offences.

Strata Committees have been given greater powers to deal with incidents of nuisance smoking and can now pass by-laws to ban smoking on common property and require residents to ensure their cigarette or even barbecue smoke doesn’t drift into common areas or other lots.

Renovations

Unit owners looking to nail in a picture hook or undertake other minor renovations will no longer require permission from the Strata Committee, with repairs and renovations now subject to a much simpler approval process.

It’s worth noting, however, tenants will still require owner approval to make any alterations to their property.

Parking

As one of the biggest bugbears of strata living, unauthorised parking is to be dealt with more effectively. Committees have been given greater powers to handle people parking in the wrong spots, trespassing into strata parking areas, parking on common property or blocking access.

Where once the police had to be called in, now Strata Committees can approach their local council to provide parking enforcement, with fines of up to $550.

Tenant representatives

The new laws also see better representation for tenants in strata communities, with legislation requiring the appointment of a tenant representative if at least half the units within a complex are tenanted.

What we do

Strataspot is a cloud based app that allows residents, owners and building managers to connect with ease. From providing updates on Strata Scheme by-laws to handling maintenance requests and noticeboards, our software ensures every party has access to all the information they require at the tip of their fingers.

You can learn more about the services we offer including our communication tools here.

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