Renovations In A Strata Scheme

Under the new NSW Strata Laws which commenced on 30 November 2016 there are now three types of renovations which are set out below and they each require different forms of approval prior to commencing work.

  • Cosmetic work
  • Minor renovations, or
  • Major renovations

Owners can do cosmetic work without approval. This includes day-to-day work such as:

  • installing or replacing hooks, nails or screws for hanging paintings or other things on walls
  • installing or replacing handrails within your lot
  • interior painting
  • filling minor holes and cracks in internal walls.

The owners corporation can declare other types of work are ‘cosmetic’. They would need to pass a by-law to do so. Such work must not be a major or minor renovation (as defined by the law).

Owners need approval before doing any minor renovations. An owner must get the Owners Corporation to approve these renovations by general resolution (over 50% of votes in favour) at a General Meeting.
Minor renovations include:

  • renovating a kitchen
  • changing recessed light fittings
  • installing or replacing wood or other hard floors
  • changing internal walls
  • sustainability measures (such as a clothesline or reverse cycle air conditioner). However, these cannot involve changing the outside appearance of a lot or structural changes.

The approval process may need the owner to give details of the work. This may include:

  • any plans of the work
  • when the work will be carried out (times and dates)
  • qualifications and details of the tradespeople who will do the work.

Major renovations are renovations which may seriously affect the common property.
Major renovations include:

  • structural changes
  • waterproofing
  • changes affecting the outside appearance of the property, such as an access ramp
  • work that needs approval under other laws (for example, council approval).

Owners need approval before doing any major renovations. An owner must get the Owners Corporation to approve these renovations by special resolution at a General Meeting.

If the works are approved at a General Meeting the owner must also give the Owners Corporation written notice at least 14 days before the work starts.

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