How could I go about changing the rules without writing to all owners? - Ben, VIC
For matters only affecting the committee, a general or special committee meeting can be called. Any amendments that affect all owners will need to be recorded and distributed via a notice. The notice needs to set out the proposed changes to the rules so there is transparency to all owners.
What rights do committee members have to vote against the strata committee's decisions in regard to common property? - Chris, NSW
All committee members must make a decision that is in the best interests of the property overall. A committee decision is a decision of the owners corporation, unless there is a disagreement between the owners corporation and the committee, in which case the decision of the owners corporation takes precedent. A majority vote (more than 50%) would be required to overturn any decision.
What can owners on the bottom floor do about where the garbage sits as the odour carries into their apartment? - Colette, NSW
Garbage should be stored in a designated garbage room. If another resident is not disposing of their garbage properly, raise the issue with your building or strata manager who can seek instruction from the committee to send a circular to residents about the correct disposal process.
What are the fire laws regarding furniture stored in the garage? - John, NSW
Each property’s by-laws or rules will deal with this slightly differently, so it’s best to refer to the by-laws specific for your building. The storage of items in car spaces can be a fire risk so most by-laws or rules advise that garages or car spaces are for vehicles only, not other items.
What to do when your property manager won’t get matters resolved? - Linda, NSW
If you are a tenant and the matter relates to an issue within your apartment, you may be able to apply to the tribunal in your state for a ruling requiring that your landlord/property manager complies. If the matter relates to common property, your building or strata manager may be able to assist.
Our building commissioned advertising signs on the common property, and charged it to the owners corporation because a motion was passed in favour of this. Is it right that the motion as passed? - Teresa, NSW
Yes, the owners corporation has the right if the motion was validly raised and resolved. Once a decision has been made at an AGM, it can then be acted on.
Can you please provide an update on the legislation status for allowing a strata unit of 2 being allowed to operate an Airbnb please. Graham, NSW
Whether a lot can operate short-term letting is determined by the local council and the requirements that were imposed at the time of registering the building. This is dependant on the development consent and the local environmental plan. Some councils require that any tenant is subject to a residential tenancy agreement (lease) for a minimum duration.
What happens at an AGM? - Amanda, Vic
Every year, the owners corporation must hold a meeting of all owners. This is called the annual general meeting (AGM). This is the main opportunity for owners to participate in major decisions, discuss issues relating to their property and elect the committee and office bearers for the next year.
Some of the meeting points will include:
• Going over the minutes from last year’s meeting
• Look over last year’s financial statement, and plan the building’s finances for the upcoming year
• Electing your committee
• Discuss the administrative fees and the maintenance fund
For more useful tips on everything strata, download a copy of PICA Group’s Essential Guide to Apartment Living HERE.
How do I go about having an air conditioning unit installed in accordance with strata laws? Irene, NSW
The rules and requirements regarding installing air-conditioning varies from property to property. There may be a by-law in place as there will likely be the need to alter common property and because the condenser may be visible from outside your lot. The by-laws may have criteria considering decibel volume, when a tradespersons can be on site, where an air conditioner can be installed and restrictions around what companies can be used to install the unit. If your building does not have a by-law in place one may need to be introduced. Further approval from council may be required to meet environmental protection laws. To determine the most appropriate course of action check with the strata and/or building manager of the property.
I live in a two story town house where we are being forced to pay for window locks to be fitted, yet the 2 story house next door (privately owned) does not have to comply. Why are strata buildings being targeted? - Stephen, NSW
The NSW strata legislation requires that by March 2018 windows that are less than 1.7m above the floor inside and 2m or more above the ground on the outside, need a child-proof/safety lock in place. As most windows are common property, the owners corporation will arrange this and the cost will be part of the levies. If the owners corporation does not have funds available, a special levy may need to be raised.
Does the Owners Corporation have a legal obligation to keep strata information confidential? - Teresa, NSW
Most owners corporation records are searchable (generally by people looking to buy into the property). These records range across all matters of the owners corporation.
Questions around by-laws
I wish to re-erect a fence, buy my neighbour/s in the other unit/s have objected. What rights do I have? Can I erect a fence on my land? - Philip, QLD
Most fences fall under the Dividing Fences Act in New South Wales (there is similar legislation in other states), so it’s best to refer directly to the legislation. The objection process can be complicated depending on where the fence (or proposed fence) is to be located.
Does strata management have a role to check the prices are fair that owners are quoted for work to be done on our building? - Helen, NSW
At the committee’s request, your strata manager can assist in providing quotes from accredited and reputable suppliers. Determining if pricing and determination is fair, is at the discretion of the committee.