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Strata update - Modernised strata laws have started

1 December 2016

Major changes to strata laws have started, updating the laws for how we live now.

To understand the changes and explore key topics of direct interest to you, access our information for:

The changes are designed to support strata schemes to run more efficiently and effectively. Just one example is recognising that strata schemes can adopt modern technology to suit their needs. This may include voting websites or meetings by teleconference or web chat to increase participation and convenience for everyone in the strata scheme.

Strata schemes must review their current by-laws (rules) by 30 November 2017. Take a look at the example ‘model by-laws’ as a guide and consider how your by-laws could be changed to better suit the way your strata scheme operates and the lifestyle it offers. Even if you don’t live in strata, amended by-laws may suit your interests (for example, by-laws that make a unit easier to rent out).

The reforms also recognise the important role that tenants play in their strata community. If tenants live in at least half of the lots in the strata scheme, they have the right to a tenant representative. All tenants also have the right to attend meetings of the owners corporation (as long as their landlord has given a tenancy notice to the owners corporation to register them on the strata roll, as required). This makes it easier for tenants to be in the know in their strata community.

Owners stand to benefit from simplified financial statements that need to be circulated each year, giving them a clear snapshot of the strata scheme’s financial situation. There is a simpler process to approve renovations to common property in an owner’s lot. Plus, new solutions exist to deal with problem parking.

There is also the new process for strata schemes to consider a collective sale and renewal (redevelopment) of their strata scheme. Especially where owners may face the cost of extensive repairs to maintain an ageing building, the collective sale process provides a flexible alternative, while ensuring certain conditions are met. These include requiring that all owners have 60 days to consider a collective sale proposal, receive at least market value for their property and that the whole process and the plans be first approved by the NSW Land and Environment Court before any sale could proceed. Existing strata schemes also have to ‘opt in’ to the process to begin with, which requires a general resolution vote.   

Please share our information on the strata law changes, available at stratalaws.nsw.gov.au  

You can also read the media release: A new beginning for strata living.

 

Key strata reforms resources

An informed strata community can realise the full benefits that the new laws bring. As well as our website information, use the following resources:

  • translated posters in English and Arabic, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese (PDF format) raising awareness about the key changes. Place the relevant poster/s on your scheme's noticeboard. 
  • Strata living: get involved (PDF format, size: 669kb). This publication covers how strata works in NSW, including roles and responsibilities and practical matters such as enforcing by-laws and raising agenda items at meetings.

You can also get your questions answered through our strata hotline: 1800 214 023.

If you are a tenant or a landlord, make sure you subscribe to our tenancy enewsletter, The Letterbox, if you haven’t yet. Look out for our December edition, dedicated to issues in strata. 

 

Attend a free strata reforms information seminar

Don’t miss our final strata reforms information seminars for 2016. They run from 5.30-7.30pm at the following locations:

  • Wollongong – 6 December
  • Liverpool – 8 December
  • Newcastle – 13 December.

Visit our events register for details. 

 

Strata schemes testing for loose-fill asbestos insulation

Under the NSW Government’s loose-fill asbestos insulation Voluntary Purchase and Demolition Program (the Program), home owners in 28 local government areas were eligible to register for free sample testing for loose-fill asbestos insulation. Registrations for sample testing have now closed and eligible strata schemes were required to lodge with Fair Trading their intent to register by 1 August 2016.  

As any loose-fill asbestos insulation is likely to be located within common property, the owners corporation must:

  • formally resolve to go ahead with the registration by voting at a general meeting
  • include in the resolution who has been delegated the responsibility of registering the scheme.

Before exercising their votes, lot owners should be aware of what is involved if the strata scheme contains loose-fill asbestos insulation. They should be informed about financial assistance available and new laws impacting affected properties. Further information can be found at loosefillasbestos.nsw.gov.au

Eligible strata schemes that lodged their intent to register with Fair Trading before 1 August 2016 should return the approved special resolution to Fair Trading before 31 March 2017.
Please use the provided template resolution. Email the resolution to AsbestosEnquiry@finance.nsw.gov.au  

If the strata scheme did not lodge their intent to register before the registration deadline and there is concern that the property contains loose-fill asbestos insulation, the scheme should arrange for a licensed asbestos assessor to conduct a sample test at their own expense. 

SafeWork NSW provides a search page for asbestos and demolition licence holders, including licensed asbestos assessors. Enter your search requirements by selecting "licensed asbestos assessor" and the relevant region in NSW.

 
fairtrading.nsw.gov.au