Lot owners from NSW are wondering whether they can install blinds or sun shades for apartment balconies. Rod Smith, The Strata Collective and Leanne Habib, Premium Strata provides the following responses.
Question: I plan to buy a sun umbrella as a sun shade for my apartment balcony that I am able to click into a permanent small base on the wall. What am I required to do regarding permissions?
I plan to buy a sun umbrella that I am able to click into a permanent small base on the balcony wall for extra security/safety in the wind.
What am I required to do regarding permission to affix this small base plate to the balcony wall? Is it counted as a ‘change to the appearance’ if it can barely be seen from the street and it is small and neat?
Answer: If the umbrella is larger and requires bolts or significant attachment, the strata may require a by-law to indemnify themselves from any ongoing responsibility.
This application will require approval from the owners corporation. I would suggest putting together an application letter with specifications such as the size, style and appearance of the sun umbrella. The level of approval will depend on the significance of the bracket as well as the size of the umbrella.
If the umbrella is only to have a few screws inserted, the strata committee may approve this as a cosmetic renovation if the appearance is suitable. If the umbrella is larger and requires bolts or significant attachment, the strata may require a by-law to indemnify themselves from any ongoing responsibility, or at a minimum an ordinary resolution at a General Meeting.
I would suggest speaking to your strata manager to confirm which of the above is applicable to you so that you can work out how to proceed.
This post appears in Strata News #231.
Rod Smith, The Strata Collective
Question: My apartment is west facing and the balcony and bedrooms are almost unliveable in Summer. My Strata Committee has declined my request to approve outside awnings without giving reasons. What redress do I have please?
I live in a 20 apartment NSW strata block.
My main and adjoining bedrooms both lead, via sliding floor-to-ceiling glass doors, on to a west-facing balcony, which has become so hot in summer in recent years as to render the balcony and bedrooms almost unliveable. The afternoon sun beams onto the balcony brickwork and walls, glass doors and into the bedrooms for 5 to 6 hours.
I can’t afford to install and use air conditioners all day in summer.
My Strata Committee has declined my request to approve outside awnings without giving reasons.
What redress do I have, please? I am willing to go to any reasonable legal action.
Answer: Because the awning will be affixed to the exterior of the building and because the awnings will change the external appearance of your lot – you will need a by-law.
Did you submit a by-law for consideration? Because the awning will be affixed to the exterior of the building and because the awnings will change the external appearance of your lot – you will need a by-law.
Further, the Owners Corporation may not unreasonably refuse your by-law for awnings. It must consider your application on its merits and generally assign reasons for any refusal.
If the Owners Corporation does refuse your by-law and you consider that they acted unreasonably, you may make application to NCAT for the making of the by-law (thereby permitting your works) after you have attempted mediation first.
This post appears in Strata News #214.
Question: Is there a precedent for installation of sun shades for apartment balconies where they were not on the original Development Application?
I live in NSW Sydney North West in a unit complex just 12 months old.
The developer only allowed for blinds to windows 2.5 metres by 9 metres onto a balcony 2.9 metres wide by 9 metres with clear glass balustrades.
This is probably the only one of 5 developments with no shading of the balconies. Our unit is one of 3 in complex 5 stories tall facing another painted predominately white. This results in quite a bit of reflected light bouncing into our unit. Is there a precedent for installation of sun shades on balconies where they were not on the original Development Application?
Answer: Yes, it is possible to install sunshades to an apartment “after market”.
You may apply to the Owners Corporation to approve a by-law for works by special resolution. The by-law is then registered on the certificate of title of the common property.
Under the by-law you will need to make application to Council and, if approved (or exempted) you may proceed to install the sunshades. However, there is a legal concept of “moral rights” of the architect which you must not offend and query whether sunshades might offend the architect’s vision for your particular development. For example, the sunshades might be construed as detrimental or prejudicing the design of the building.
Ultimately, yes, however, it is possible to install sunshades “aftermarket”.
This post appears in Strata News #166.
- NSW Case Note: What is “unreasonable” to refuse?
- SA: Q&A Reimburse for replacing external blinds – 10 years ago!?
This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
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