On 28 October 2015, the Strata Schemes Management Bill 2015 and Strata Schemes Bill 2015 passed through the NSW Parliament. The new strata laws are to become effective from mid-2016. We will outline some of the major changes below.

Increased flexibility:

Unit Owners will now be able to cast their votes by mail, electronically or through secret ballots. Strata meetings may now be held over social media, video or teleconference. This will increase the owners corporations flexibility in determining when to hold their annual general meetings.

By-laws:

By-laws cover a range of different matters including parking, noise and keeping pets. The new strata laws will affect the following areas:

  • Parking: Owners Corporations (OC) will now have the power to allow local council parking inspectors to issue fines to individuals who have parked where they are not permitted.
  • Renovations: Owners will now be able to make minor renovations and cosmetic changes to their own units without pre-approval from the OC.
  • Overcrowding: OCs will be able to restrict the amount of people residing in a lot, so long as it is not less than 2 adults per bedroom.
  • Smoke: Smoke drift is considered a potential nuisance. OCs will have the ability to place bans if smoke drift occurs.
  • Pets: There will now be more flexibility in terms of owning pets rather than an automatic ban.

Collective Sales and renewal:

The current legislation requires 100% of the owners to agree in order for a collective sale or renewal to occur. Greater flexibility is provided by the new reforms which only requires 75% majority. The new reforms also seek to protect owners by ensuring that they receive at least the current market value for their lots plus an additional payment to cover costs.

Proxy voting:

Proxy voting will be more restricted as owners in buildings with less than 20 units will only be allowed to carry one proxy vote. In larger buildings individuals will be limited to the lesser of 20% of the votes or 5 votes. The objective of this change is to provide further protection for the minority owners in a strata community.

Any queries, please do not hesitate to contact our team of lawyers at The Quinn Group on (02) 9223 9166 or submit an online enquiry.