The following questions regarding template renovation bylaws were submitted to our site via email from NSW lot owners. Thank you to Leanne Habib, Premium Strata for providing the following responses.
Question: Are there any templates available of renovation bylaws?
We are members of a Strata Plan in NSW which is in a complex of just over 50 units constructed in the 1980’s. We have regular applications from owners proposing to renovate their apartments and we are looking to update quite cumbersome processes with respect to the approval by the Owners Corp of proposed renovations by owners.
Are there any templates available of policies and standards in relation to this process?
The issues which are contentious clearly arise in many Owners Corporation’s and include:
- Reasonable policies relating to the approval by the Owners Corporation of proposed changes to hard surfaces coverings to mitigate impact noise transfer from floors to ceilings.
- Whether the approval by Owners Corporation’s of renovation plans necessarily requires the current cumbersome and costly practice of calling special general meetings of owners to adopt special by-laws to approve their renovations with the Owner meeting the cost of solicitors to draft the new by-laws etc and the calling of the meeting.
Answer: Yes, you may purchase detailed renovation bylaws which regulate the carrying out of renovations and modifications
Yes, you may purchase detailed renovation by-laws which regulate the carrying out of renovations and modifications to a lot which may specifically authorise the executive committee to sign off on the commencement of the works (provided all the requirements of the by-law are satisfied including standards and compliance issues as stipulated in the by-law).
The “generic renovation by-law” obviates the need for a new by-law and a new general meeting to be held each time an owner wishes to carry out works.
Under the current legislation, you cannot avoid the general meeting, by-law drafting process because that is the procedure outlined in the current legislation. The new legislation, however, has relaxed the renovation procedure. For example, “cosmetic” works eg built-in wardrobes will no longer require any approval of the Owners Corporation. “Minor” renovations eg kitchen renovation will no longer require a special resolution or a by-law but rather only an ordinary resolution. Works involving structural changes, for example, will continue to require the special resolution/by-law process.
Renovation bylaws may be purchased which contemplate the revisions to the renovation processes.
Question: Is it possible to have generic renovation bylaws for major works set up by the Committee so that everyone can use them without having to go to the trouble and the cost of setting up their own?
Being a member of a Strata Committee where I live I have been asked to look into some things regarding By-Laws for Major Works.
We have at least three owners of Units wanting to renovate their bathrooms, and they, therefore, need to have a Special Resolution and renovation bylaws passed.
- Is it possible to have Blanket / Generic Renovation ByLaws for Major Works set up by the Committee so that everyone can use them without having to go to the trouble and the cost of setting up their own?
- I assume renovation bylaws would have to be registered.
- What would the procedure be for each Unit Owner to take once they have the Generic Bylaw?
- Do they then follow the same steps as before: Present the renovation bylaws, Plans and Details to the Strata Manager and wait till this is passed at a General or Extra Ordinary Meeting?
- Does it have to be registered again with their signature on it, therefore, taking the responsibility hereafter for the waterproofing and work carried out in their unit.
Answer: Yes this is possible. You pass a “management bylaw” which sets up the guidelines for major works
We have addressed each question below:
- Yes this is possible. You pass a “management bylaw” which sets up the guidelines for major works eg “Major Renovations” means works that:
- involve structural changes;
- change the external appearance of a Lot;
- detrimentally affect the safety of a Lot or common property including fire safety systems;
- involve waterproofing or plumbing or exhaust system(s); and/or
- are on the common property, for clarity, works that add to, alter or erect a structure on the common property, as are more particularly described in the Scope of Works.
- This bylaw is then registered. Then an owner wanting to carry out the works provides the Scope of Works to the strata committee, agrees to comply with the generic by-law and a one-line by-law stating the relevant lot owner’s lot number and specific scope of works is then registered (and the lot owner agrees that the provisions of the generic by-law are adopted or incorporated into the short by-law).
Alternatively, we have seen blanket authorisation bylaws (granting common property rights) for each and every lot providing strict guidelines are met (with only the generic bylaw being registered and no subsequent bylaws being registered in respect of any particular lot).
- As per the above
- Correct. We prefer the management bylaw approach so that all plans/details etc are registered on the title for a specific lot owner. This will avoid doubt in the future as to what scope of works were carried out .
- It depends on which approach you prefer. The former blanket bylaw approach you would require a short bylaw to be registered in addition to the generic one. If you adopt the alternative course, no.
This post appears in Strata News #172.
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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