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Renovations – Do I need a By-Law?

Posted 31 January 2017

Category: Strata, Renovations

Many owners may be tempted to “keep it simple” when renovating their apartment and not request approval from the owners corporation, or a by-law. Strata committees may take a similar view, wishing to minimise the number of general meetings and the number of motions at those general meetings. However, this is a bad idea, for both lot owners and owners corporations.

​Some things to consider:

  • Renovations will frequently involve alteration of some common property requiring owners corporation approval under provisions of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015. Often a by-law is also required, but not always.
  • With the reform of the strata laws on 30 November 2016, approval for some classes of works is now simpler, and a broad range of minor cosmetic works do not even require any approval. However, as a result there are now more categories of works, and working out whether you require approval (and if so, what approval) and whether you require a by-law has become more complex. These classes of works include:
    1. Cosmetic work that can be carried out without seeking approval;
    1. Minor renovations that require approval by ordinary resolution at a general meeting;
    1. Works to be performed under a ‘property rights by-law’. These will require approval by special resolution at a general meeting, and then registration of the approved by-law; and
    1. Other types of works altering common property that do not fall into the above 3 categories. These require approval by special resolution at a general meeting and may also require a by-law.

This service will help you to work out whether you require any approval, and if so, what approval, and also whether you need a by-law. In most cases it will then prepare for you all required documentation to request approval, and if applicable, the by-law.

  • Preparing an appropriate motion and by-law by this service is generally a quick, easy and inexpensive exercise, and provides you with well drafted balanced ones that are likely to be acceptable to both the owners corporation and you. In most cases you will receive your documents immediately, making the process much simpler and faster than briefing a lawyer in the more usual way.
  • As a lot owner you benefit from a by-law. Without one, you may not be able to retain or have exclusive use of the works (depending upon the nature of the works), and registration of a by-law will make the lot more attractive to a buyer. Without one, in the worst case scenario the owners corporation may take action to have the works removed.

The owners corporation benefits from a by-law, as a by-law can create clear and transferrable rights and obligations and can allocate maintenance obligations in relation to the works. They are therefore also attractive to the owners corporation.

***The information contained in this article is general information only and not legal advice. The currency, accuracy and completeness of this article (and its contents) should be checked by obtaining independent legal advice before you take any action or otherwise rely upon its contents in any way.

Bannermans Lawyers

Updated 31 January 2017

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