How will the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016 affect you?

In October 2015, the NSW parliament passed major reforms to the state’s strata laws, to reflect 21st century living. The reforms, which will come into play late in 2016, cover most aspects of living in a strata building. Within the reforms, there are small name changes, time ­period alterations and other minor adjustments. There are other more significant changes which will affect owners and residents alike. Which changes will affect residents and owners the most? Below is a summary of  some important changes which may affect you.

● Parking

A sore point for many residents, especially when it comes to non­-residents parking where they shouldn’t, parking is a huge issue. Under the new reforms, council parking inspectors will patrol strata car parks and will have the power to fine people that are parked where they shouldn’t ­ this will also include residents who park in the wrong places.

● Overcrowding

In order to try to stop overcrowding, particularly closer to the city, the reforms will allow Owners’ Corporations to create by­-laws to limit the number of adults living in an apartment (at a minimum of 2 adults per bedroom). Fines for breaching the overcrowding laws can reach $11,000 for those who are repeat offenders.

● Defects Bond

Residents in new apartments will be better protected against the cost of rectifying minor defects that are the fault of developers. Instead, the developers will be required to place a bond of 2% of the value of the property to cover any defects after the building is completed.

● Smoke Drift

Instead of banning all smoking, the new reform means that individual owners of buildings can police their own buildings and individuals can decide what to do about their neighbours’ smoke if they deem it a hazard.

● Collective Sales

If you live in an aging building, 75% of the building’s residents will need to agree on the sale of the building for redevelopment ­a change from the current 100% who need to agree.

● Renovations

Minor cosmetic work can be done without permission, significant renovations will need a majority vote from the owners’ corporation and major renovations will be subject to all the special resolutions, by-­laws and restrictions.

● Pets

The new reforms will also create an environment where pet ownership cannot be unreasonably refused unless the animal poses a hazard or can be identified as a nuisance.

To see a full list of the reforms and how they will affect you, please visit the Fair Trading website