An NSW Lot Owner has carried out renovations on their apartment without approval and they are wondering what steps to take now.
Table of Contents:
- QUESTION: My neighbour’s unapproved bathroom renovations have caused damage to my lot but he will not give permission for access. What can I do?
- QUESTION: Our neighbour drilled into our balcony to install an awning shade. What do we do now? Who is responsible if there is future damage due to the installation?
- QUESTION: We have recently renovated our kitchen without approval from the Owners Corporation. Will have to return the kitchen to the original condition or be fined?
Question: My neighbour’s unapproved bathroom renovations have caused damage to my lot but he will not give permission for access. What can I do?
There has been a bylaw put in place that says the unit above me will pay for any damage caused by his unapproved bathroom renovation.
There has been a leak causing damp walls in my unit since before Christmas. After the plumber, hired by the Strata company, fixed a few problems he thought the problem was solved. Unfortunately, it wasn’t, and the owner has refused to allow entry to another plumber. The committee say they are talking to the owner about this.
What Options are available?
Answer: Orders for Access must be sought from NCAT
It seems that the subject by-law was passed by retrospective approval of the Owners Corporation, and, under its terms, the Owner of the bathroom would be liable for any loss or damage caused to lot or common property. Depending on the source of the cause of your damp, the Owners Corporation could enforce the provisions of the by-law by seeking orders from NCAT and you could seek orders from NCAT in that the water ingress is causing you a nuisance.
While it is unclear who the “other” plumber was contracted by, if it was the Owners Corporation, except in case of emergency, it would need the other lot owner’s consent for the Owners Corporation’s contractor’s entry, in the absence of which, Orders for Access must be sought from NCAT.
This post appears in Strata News #510.
Question: Our neighbour drilled into our balcony to install an awning shade. What do we do now? Who is responsible if there is future damage due to the installation?
Our downstairs neighbour got approval to set up an awning for her backyard. In her request she stated that drilling was ‘probably not required’, however, she then drilled into our balcony. She has attached two awnings to our balcony without any consent from or the owners corporation.
Is she allowed to do that? Our balcony is included in our allotment, but the owners corporation is responsible if there’s any structural issue with our balcony. What course of action can we take? What if the awning attachment causes any future damage to our balcony?
Answer: If the downstairs neighbour received the proper approvals, she would likely be responsible for any loss or damage caused to the lot and common property including yours.
If the downstairs neighbour received the proper approvals, she would likely be responsible for any loss or damage caused to lot and common property including yours. She would have required a by-law in which case you would have been notified of an upcoming meeting to consider same. You should carefully review her approval to determine whether or not she obtained proper consent and whether or not she has exceeded the scope of her stated works.
This post appears in Strata News #454.
Question: We have recently renovated our kitchen without approval from the Owners Corporation. Will have to return the kitchen to the original condition or be fined?
We live in a strata townhouse complex in NSW.
I have just done some renovations to my kitchen including new cupboard doors and benchtops. I have recently found out that I should have sought our Owners Corporation’s permission to do the renovations.
I was under the impression that minor work like kitchen renovations could be done without approval.
I am looking for advice on what I should do now. Should I contact my strata manager and let them know work has been done?
What is the likelihood I’ll have to return the kitchen to the original state or be fined for carrying out renovations without approval?
Answer: Transparency and pro-activeness is usually the best approach when something like renovations without approval occurs.
Kitchen renovations (with works involving waterproofing) are “minor renovations” under the new strata legislation which means you should have obtained an ordinary resolution at a general meeting of the owners corporation (or resolution of the strata committee if there is a by-law authorising the strata committee to approve minor renovations).
Transparency and pro-activeness is usually the best approach when something like renovations without approval occurs, so, yes, contact your strata manager, provide a full scope of works carried out and indicate that you will repair & maintain your works and indemnity the owners corporation in respect of them.
It is difficult to predict the likelihood of having to remove your renovations and it would be difficult to reinstate the common property because presumably you no longer have the original fixtures, fittings, tiles etc.
Enforcement of strata legislation varies from scheme to scheme and strata management agency to strata management agency but given your willingness to regularise your works, in our view, it is unlikely you would be expected to remove your works.
This post appears in Strata News #217.
- NSW: Q&A Strata approval for renovations – What is the process?
- NSW: Are We All Getting It Wrong? Unauthorised Works: Who Is Responsible For Repairing Them?
These articles are not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
Looking for strata information concerning your state? For state-specific strata information, take a look here.
Are you not sure about some of the strata terms used in this article? Take a look at our NSW Strata Glossary to help with your understanding.