The NSW Government has announced more than 90 changes to strata scheme legislation. The changes, which came into effect on 30 November 2016, seek to modernise strata laws to “fit the reality of living in a strata townhouse or apartment today”.
Other than some transitionary arrangements in relation to managing strata agents, building managers and strata executive committee members, most changes are immediate, including:
- strengthening the accountability of strata managers;
- allowing owners to adopt modern technology to conduct meetings, vote, communicate and administer their scheme (e.g. skype);
- the need for owners to review by-laws (strata community rules) within 12 months, which can be customised to suit their lifestyle – such as whether to allow owners to keep a pet by giving notice to the owners corporation;
- a process for the collective sale and renewal of a strata scheme;
- a simpler, clearer process for dealing with disputes;
- broadening tenant participation in meetings;
- a new option to manage unauthorised parking through a commercial arrangement between a local council and a strata scheme; and
- a clearer and simpler three-tier renovations process, which waives approval for cosmetic renovations within the strata lot (for example, installing handrails for safety).
There are also measures to reduce red tape, such as simplifying financial statements for owners. Building defect bond scheme reforms are proposed to begin on 1 July 2017.