This lot owner is concerned about installing floorboards in strata units in Canberra. Christopher Kerin, Kerin Benson Lawyers provides the following response.
Question: Can lot owners install floorboards in strata units in older buildings in Canberra? Where should we look for information before approaching the body corporate?
Do you have any advice on lot owners that install floorboards in strata units in older buildings in Canberra? Is this allowed and where should we look for information before approaching the body corporate?
Answer: For guidance, see Nolan & Anor v UP 369  ACAT 32.
Here is an excerpt from my book: Guide to ACT Strata Law on Privacy (from page 97 – 98):
3.05 Case Note. Nolan & Anor v UP 369  ACAT 32.
This case was about the application of default rule 4(1) which states that a unit owner may erect or alter any structure in or on the unit or the common property only in accordance with the express permission of the owners corporation by unopposed resolution (the owners corporation did not have its own specific rules).
The applicants request that the owners corporation consent to a change in the flooring of their unit from carpet in the living areas, kitchen and hallway to bamboo floating floor with noise minimising underlay which met the requirements of the Building Code of Australia.
The strata manager replied to the request by advising that as one of the adjoining owners had not consent to the request, a general meeting would not be called and the applicants would not be able to present their request to the owners corporation and they could not install the floorboards.
The applicants then made an application to ACAT arguing that the floating bamboo floorboards would be laid without nailing or gluing and that their will be no structural change to the concrete flooring of the units.
ACAT analysed the meaning of ‘structure’ in default rule 4(1) and concluded that the removal of carpets and the installation of a floating bamboo floor was not an erection or alteration of the structure as provided in default rule 4(1) and consequently did not require owners corporation approval.
ACAT was also critical of the conduct of the strata manager in misunderstanding the basis for calling owners corporation meetings. The applicants should have been given an opportunity to provide information to the owners and “the default rules do not require 100% consent to the proposed work from the relevant unit owners before the General Meeting can be called and held”. (p. 97-98)
This post appears in Strata News #199.
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This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.