NSW Lot Owners are concerned about overcrowding and maximum occupancy regulations in NSW apartment buildings.
Table of Contents:
- QUESTION: If extra rooms are being created within units without approval, what impact does this situation have on owners corporation insurance?
- QUESTION: Can a strata bylaw be written stating that owners cannot convert unit space into an additional bedroom?
- QUESTION: Many rented lots in our building have converted an open plan study into an extra bedroom without approval causing overcrowding. Keeping in mind maximum occupancy regulations in NSW, can we insist these apartments be re-instated to their original configurations?
- QUESTION: Taking into account the maximum occupancy regulations, how many occupants can an NSW apartment have eg. could a unit with 2 bedrooms have any number of occupants or is there a legal limit?
Question: If extra rooms are being created within units without approval, what impact does this situation have on owners corporation insurance?
There are more and more situations where extra rooms are being created within units without owners corporation approval (eg a 2 bedroom made into a 3 bedroom). Some are obvious, some you wouldn’t know if they were approved or not.
What impact does this situation have on owners corporation insurance and the owners insurance? Especially when the units have been on sold and the new owners don’t realise.
Does a strata manager have an obligation to know how many bedrooms the units were originally built as?
Answer: From a claims perspective, policies will have an exclusion for illegal installations.
When it comes to arranging insurance, the sum insured must be reflective of full replacement value. Notwithstanding, most insurers have a provision in their policy for lot owners fixtures and fittings which allows for extra re-build costs in addition to the building sum insured if a lot owner has upgraded their property without the owners corporation knowing or factoring this into the building sum insured.
From a claims perspective, policies will have an exclusion for illegal installations. If converting the property from a 2 bedroom to a 3 bedroom is non-compliant, the insurer may decline cover for repairs to the installations that do not comply.
This information is of a general nature only and neither represents nor is intended to be personal advice on any particular matter. Shandit Pty Ltd T/as Strata Insurance Solutions strongly suggests that no person should act specifically on the basis of the information in this document, but should obtain appropriate professional advice based on their own personal circumstances. Shandit Pty Ltd T/As Strata Insurance Solutions is a Corporate Authorised Representative (No. 404246) of Insurance Advisernet Australia AFSL No 240549, ABN 15 003 886 687.
This post appears in Strata News #487.
Question: Can a strata bylaw be written stating that owners cannot convert unit space into an additional bedroom?
Can a strata bylaw be written stating that owners cannot convert unit space into an additional bedroom?
I believe strata can order unauthorised conversions to be reversed but surely it would be best to be proactive and clearly state that conversions cannot be approved?
There are several reasons why conversions are detrimental to residents and owners. In my Owners Corporation, I’m concerned about the maximum occupancy regulations in NSW as we already have overcrowding issues and potential risks.
Answer: A by-law must not be harsh, unconscionable or oppressive.
The By Laws need to be in keeping with the model By-Laws. This is to ensure it does not become subject to challenge by a lot owner in accordance with section 139 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015. This section provides that a By-law cannot be unjust A by-law must not be harsh, unconscionable or oppressive.
Perhaps a By-Law that ensures any such works are subject to council development application approval and approval by the Owners Corporation in circumstances where it is going to change the appearance of the lot.
This post appears in Strata News #479.
Question: Many rented lots in our building have converted an open plan study into an extra bedroom without approval causing overcrowding. Keeping in mind maximum occupancy regulations in NSW, can we insist these apartments be re-instated to their original configurations?
We are lot owners in a 2 year old NSW strata plan building with 80 apartments. There is a mix of configurations:
- 1 bedroom,
- 1 bedroom with open plan study,
- 2 bedroom and
- 2 bedroom with open plan study.
Without notifying the Strata Managers, a fairly large proportion of the 1 and 2 bedroom apartments with the open plan studies have been modified. The open plan study has been converted into an additional bedroom! Could this be a breach of the maximum occupancy regulations in NSW?
Local council were notified and confirmed of this breach to planning guidelines eg car parking etc.
We are concerned about this overcrowding issue. Also, due to the additional number of people occupying the “illegal” additional bedrooms, there has been noticeable wear and tear to common property eg elevators and bbq area.
Can our Strata Managers insist these apartments be re-instated to their original configurations? The modifications are non-structural, with a gyprock wall and simple standard doorway installed.
Answer: The strata manager can seek to notify the owners there has been a breach of the bylaws.
The strata manager can seek to notify the owners there has been a breach of the bylaws and section 110 of the Strata Schemes Management Act.
Note: Section 132 enables rectification orders to be made against owners of lots for damage caused by work done by owners.
The strata managers can then seek to lodge an application in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal seeking an order that the works undertaken be removed as they were carried out without authorisation and approval by the Owners Corporation.
The owner was also required to notify the owners corporation of alteration to a lot structure pursuant to section 152 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015.
This post appears in Strata News #293.
Question: Taking into account the maximum occupancy regulations, how many occupants can an NSW apartment have?
Question: If an apartment is tenanted, how many occupants are allowed in a 2 bedroom unit? I suspect overcrowding in the apartment next door to ours.
Answer: You would need a by-law that stipulates occupancy limits.
Subject to anything contained in the development approval for the building, you would need a by-law that stipulates occupancy limits and that by-law cannot limit a bedroom to accommodate less than 2 x adults per bedroom.
None of this applies if the occupants are related to one another. The regulation specifies who is to be considered a relation for these purposes.
This post appears in Strata News #230.
Have a question or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
- NSW: Smoking in Your Strata Building! Can They or Can’t They?
- VIC: Q&A – Is There A Maximum Number of Tenants Allowed in Apartments?
These articles are not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
The City of Sydney has an Unauthorised Accommodation Investigation Team which was established in March 2015. The team works with NSW Police, Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Fair Trading, the Australian Taxation Office and other relevant agencies to overcome overcrowding and accommodation that is unsafe for occupants and surrounding neighbours. If you have concerns about overcrowding, reports can be made anonymously to this team. For more information, visit the Unauthorised accommodation page on the City of Sydney website.
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.