More than 90 changes to NSW strata legislation came into force on 30 November 2016. While the transition for owners corporations may seem somewhat complex, the changes are intended to have a positive impact on owners and bring strata laws into the modern age. Here are some of the key areas you can take advantage of now.
Fine with me
Fines will be bigger for breaching strata by-laws, but the money will now be paid to the owners corporation instead of the government, so they will be worth pursuing. The fine has been increased to a maximum of $1,100 for a first offence, and $2,220 for subsequent breaches within 12 months of the first penalty.
Cosmetic renovations can now occur with no restrictions; while minor renovations that have more impact will require 50 per cent of owners’ votes; and anything that impacts the external appearance or structure of the building will require a special resolution. That means zero need for engaging with owners for laying carpet, painting or putting up a picture onto the wall!
Car park crackdown
Owners corporations will be able to make arrangements with local council parking rangers to patrol their car parks and issue parking infringement notices to vehicles parked in restricted areas. The owners corporation will also have the right to move a vehicle that is parked illegally on common property, or that blocks an exit or entrance. Patrolled parking will come at a fee, but is a way to stop people abusing visitor parking.
Vote of confidence
Committees no longer have to rely on in-person voting or by proxy, and can instead agree to allow other means of voting, such as via email, social media, teleconference or videoconference. This will encourage and allow more owners to participate in decision-making, especially absent investors.
There will be a restriction on the amount of proxy votes (whereby an owner nominates any other owner to vote on their behalf). This will prevent one or two individuals potentially controlling the decisions made by the owners corporation and enable fairer resolutions.
Levies paid back
Owners corporations will be able to apply for compensation if a developer promises unrealistic low levies at completion, and will have three years to make a claim at the Tribunal. The vigilant law will hopefully deter developers from using the misleading marketing tactic, and will fuel buyer’s confidence when shopping off-the-plan.
Find out more about the new legislation at stratalaws.nsw.gov.au