The impact of new NSW strata laws on everyday living

The new NSW Strata Laws came into effect on 30 November 2016. Now, almost two years in, these changes have in many ways overhauled and simplified strata living for the 15 per cent of New South residents who live in a strata scheme.

Here is a quick recap of the most significant changes the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 has had to everyday strata living.

1. Parking

Owners corporations now have the right to tow vehicles that are parked on common property (including visitor spaces) in excess of permitted periods or who are otherwise obstructing common property. There are some steps to follow to ensure this is done in a compliant way.

2. The classification of smoking as a nuisance.

Second hand smoke is now defined as a nuisance. This makes it significantly easier for residents to raise concerns to the strata manager and for their concerns to be actioned.

3. Name change to committees.

Executive committees are now known as strata committees. This change was made to remove confusion around members of the committee having special privileges or secret perks. The function of the committee did not change once the Act was implemented.

4. Increased levels of financial transparency.

Many strata agencies are able to use their size for buying power to partner with various insurance agencies to generate deals for customers. It is now compulsory for strata managers to make it known when they are receiving commission on the sale of compulsory insurance to a scheme.

5. Changes to strata contract limits.

In the interest of consumer choice and keeping prices fair, strata management agencies can now only be appointed for a maximum of three years on an existing plan. New schemes are offered even more flexibility, with strata contracts only being allowed a maximum 12-month term at the first AGM, to allow property owners the opportunity to assess services levels before making a longer commitment.

6. Meeting participation changes.

Under the Act, owners corporations can decide how meetings are held and how owners can cast votes. Meeting attendance can now be done remotely via telephone and participation in voting can be conducted online through voting applications should the owners corporation pass a resolution to approve this.

7. An increase in fines.

Owners corporations can now issue fines of up to $550 to residents for regular by-law breaches. Overcrowding fines have also skyrocketed with first time breaches costing owners $5,500. Owners with subsequent overcrowding offences can be fined up to $11,000.

For more information about strata rules and regulations check out these rules of apartment living and strata 101: what you need to know before buying off the plan.

This article first appeared onĀ Homely.com.au.