The Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW) and the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016 (NSW) requires owners of a property in a strata scheme (such as a town-house or an apartment) to obtain approval to carry out certain work to their property.
Whether or not you are required to obtain approval for strata renovation work will depend on whether the work being carried out is considered:
- cosmetic work; or
- minor renovations.
Do you need approval to carry out cosmetic work?
Owners do not need approval to carry out strata renovation work that is cosmetic.
Cosmetic work includes:
- installing or replacing hooks, nails or screws for hanging paintings and other items on walls;
- installing or replacing handrails;
- filling minor holes and cracks in internal walls;
- laying carpet;
- installing or replacing built-in wardrobes; and
- installing or replacing internal blinds and curtains.
It does not include:
- structural changes;
- reconfiguration of walls; or
- minor renovations.
Do you need approval to carry out minor renovations?
Owners are allowed to carry out strata renovation work that is considered minor renovations only with the prior approval of the owners corporation.
Minor renovations include:
- renovating a kitchen;
- changing light fittings;
- installing or replacing wood or other hard floors;
- installing a clothesline;
- removing carpet to expose underlying wood or other hard floors;
- installing a reverse cycle split system air conditioner;
- installing or replacing wiring or cabling or power or access points; and
- reconfiguration of walls.
A strata scheme’s by-laws can stipulate other types of works to be minor renovations. It is important to consider the by-laws of a strata scheme before any work is commenced.
How do you obtain approval for minor renovations?
In order to obtain the approval of the owners corporation, an owner must give written notice of the proposed minor renovations and include:
- details of the work proposed to be carried out, including a copy of any plans;
- the proposed dates and times for the proposed work to be carried out;
- details of the proposed person that will be carrying out the work, including their qualifications; and
- arrangement to manage any resulting rubbish or debris.
An owners corporation can impose reasonable conditions to an approval but cannot unreasonable withhold their approval.
The most effective and efficient way to obtain approval is to have a lawyer prepare a motion and a by-law that you can submit to the owners corporation for signing.
What can you do if you’ve been denied approval for strata renovation works?
If an owners corporation refuses to approve your proposed works you can make an application to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).
NCAT can make an order approving a your minor renovations if NCAT considers that the owners corporation has unreasonably refused its consent to the minor renovations.
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