This article discusses painting to the exterior of the building and improvements to common areas in WA.
Table of Contents:
- QUESTION: What is the correct procedure for the lot owner when carrying out changes to their lot?
- QUESTION: Our byLaws state that laundry cannot be viewed from outside the property. What is the intent of the Appearance of the Lot byLaw? Is it that a property on a higher level should not be able to view the laundry or does it relate to laundry visible from common property?
- QUESTION: Our strata manager says the painting of the exterior of our building is the lot owners responsibility. Is this right?
Question: What is the correct procedure for the lot owner when carrying out changes to their lot?
I recently purchased a strata title property. The strata consists of 3 townhouses. One townhouse is Owner Occupied, and the other is tenanted. There is no Strata Manager and no meetings etc. I really want to paint the exterior of my townhouse a different colour. When I asked the selling agent how to go about this, he said ‘just knock on the neighbours door and get the permission’.
Is that ok? I’m also planning to do some gardening at the front of the lot which I will maintain by myself to improve the appearance of the block. What steps do I need to follow to ensure I follow through with these changes correctly?
Answer: Before being able to progress with any works to the external areas such as painting or gardening, you have to be able to determine what you have purchased.
Congratulations of your new home. When purchasing your townhouse the real estate agent is required to provide you with copies of the Strata Plan for your scheme and the bylaws lodged on the Strata Plan.
There are several different types of boundaries that can be provided to a Strata Company and before being able to progress with any works to the external areas such as painting or gardening, you have to be able to determine what you have purchased. In some instances you may have purchased your townhouse and all of the external areas to the fence lines, deeming you to be a Survey Strata Complex. Or you may have purchased the internal cubic space or, you may own the structure to the external surfaces, and in some cases you may own to the middle of the external brick walls. Sometimes people generalise and think that all strata plans are the same however they do vary quite a bit.
In most cases, if you are looking to change the external colour or aesthetics of your townhouse, you will need to apply for the Strata Company to approve it. To achieve this you will need to liaise with the owners of the other units, not the residents. They may all be owner/occupied which will make it easier, however the owners collectively form the Strata Company and therefore it is the owners you need to speak with. You can certainly knock on the neighbours doors and seek that information. If they are tenanted then you may have to contact their Property Manager to obtain details for the owner.
If all 3 owners agree to any changes and sign or put that in writing, you may be able to proceed with your changes. Bear in mind that you have purchased into a community and one of the standard conduct bylaws that may be relevant to your Strata Plan provides the following:
14. Appearance of lot
An owner or occupier of a lot must not, without the written consent of the strata company, maintain within the lot anything visible from outside the lot that, viewed from outside the lot, is not in keeping with the rest of the building.
As a first step it would be great to find out who your neighbours are and maybe, once you have the contact details for the other owners, you can convene a meeting to discuss these issues. Once you have gathered then you may decide to have a consultant look at your plan and provide all 3 owners with a summary of the boundaries of your lots and confirm your bylaws. This information can be held by each of the townhouses and every owner is aware of their obligations in the future.
This post appears in the March 2020 edition of The WA Strata Magazine.
Question: Our byLaws state that laundry cannot be viewed from outside the property. What is the intent of the Appearance of the Lot byLaw? Is it that a property on a higher level should not be able to view the laundry or does it relate to laundry visible from common property?
Answer: In general terms, the standard by-law means any laundry visible from anywhere outside the building, whether it’s a higher balcony, common property, or from the street.
Visible laundry is often a topic of conversation and it varies from complex to complex as to how strictly this by-law is enforced. In general terms, the standard by-law means any laundry visible from anywhere outside the building, whether it’s a higher balcony, common property, or from the street.
If your complex doesn’t provide designated areas for the air-drying of laundry, your next best options are either having a portable drying rack set up inside your apartment where it’s not visible from outside, or to seek written permission from your elected Strata Council to use a visible space such as a balcony or courtyard.
Your Strata Manager may also be able to provide guidance on whether there is precedence set in this regard at your complex, or provide further detail on your complex’s specific requirements.
This post appears in the December 2020 edition of The WA Strata Magazine.
Question: Our strata manager says the painting of the exterior of our building is the lot owners responsibility. Is this right?
I live in a complex of 12 villas. Who’s responsibility is it to pay for the outside painting e.g. gutters, downpipes and the outside of the building? We have been told by the Strata Manager it is our responsibility.
If this is our responsibility, how do we keep with the appearance of the lot? The Strata Manager has told us we must use the same colour scheme but no one knows what colour paint was used back in 2007 when the building was built. What can we do?
Answer: If the strata plans shows the boundaries to be the external surfaces then the responsibility of maintenance and repair would fall to the lot owners.
The responsibility of maintenance to the external areas would depend on the lot boundaries. You would need to check the strata plans to ascertain these.
If the strata plans shows the boundaries to be the external surfaces then the responsibility of maintenance and repair would fall to the lot owners. If the boundaries are to the internal surface of the lots, then the strata company would be responsible for the maintenance of the areas as they would be common property.
A professional painter should be able to match the colour of the paint.
This post appears in Strata News #371.
Have a question about common property improvements in buildings in WA or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
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