Step 1 Draft the By-Law
Using DIY By-Laws you can easily add your lot details, select what areas you are renovating and attach the relevant plans to create a by-law and motion instantly! Your by-law will describe any impact there may be to common property (for example, waterproofing in bathroom, moving plumbing or external walls).
Step 4 The General Meeting
Your motion will be discussed at the AGM and details will be reviewed. Then a vote will be taken by all owners attending (and via proxy) the AGM on your motion. This will be specially resolved and you will get approval or could be asked to provide changes or more detail. A majority vote will get this approved.
When Owners wish to undertake renovations to their lots, the approval process has been simplified under the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (“SSMA 2015”) and Regulations under that SSMA 2015. To ensure that this process is easy and manageable this article shall provide you with information regarding what to expect when you seek to get your by-law approved. However, please note that this article is not an exhaustive list of all approvals you may require when undertaking renovations.
What are the benefits of having a by-law?
As an Owner, a by-law will create a clear and transferable right to undertake specific works. The by-law will also provide you with exclusive use of the renovation works which means that you will have the maintenance obligations if any repairs are required. Additionally, once the by-law is registered any further legal issues regarding the renovations will be removed if you want to sell your property in the future.
If you do not have a by-law approved for your renovation works, the Owners Corporation can require you to remove any changes and reinstate the parts of common property to the state they were in before you undertook the renovations.
What kind of by-law do you need for your renovations?
Under the SSMA 2015, there are different levels of approval that are required depending on the kind of renovations you are seeking to undertake. For clarity please see the table below.
|Type of By-law||Types of works||Approvals|
|Cosmetic Works in accordance with section 109 of the SSMA 2015||Cosmetic works are very minor internal works to common property such as:
However, certain types of renovations are excluded, such as:
|No approval or notification is required for this type of work. As an Owner you may begin the works at any time.|
|Minor Renovations in accordance with section 110 of the SSMA||Minor renovations include but are not limited to the following works:
However, certain types of renovations are excluded, such as:
|Before you can begin works, you must put forward a section 110 motion for resolution at a general meeting of the Owners Corporation. After it has been ordinarily resolved you may begin your renovations.
Please see the sections below which describes what an ordinary resolution is.
|Works changing common property in accordance with section 108 of the SSMA 2015||Works which change common property include anything that will:
However, this kind of by-law does not include any kind of works listed above as cosmetic works or minor renovations.
|To get this by-law approved you will require:
Please see the sections below which describes what a special resolution is.
|Works approved under a common property rights by-law in accordance with section 143 of the SSMA 2015||This type of by-law is required in conjunction with a section 108 by-law. The effect of this by-law will authorise you to keep your works if they affect common property.||This type of by-law requires the same approvals as a section 108 by-law (identified above).|
What kind of approvals do I need?
This form of approval simply requires the majority of the eligible Owners or representatives present at a general meeting to vote in favour or your motion or by-law.
This approval requires:
It is important to understand that some renovations may require Council Consents in the form of development consent/complying development certificate, construction certificate and occupation certificate from Council or a private certifier and plumbing approvals from a water services coordinator.
How do you get your by-law approved?
To get your by-law approved, you should provide the owners corporation with the following for approval:
The owners corporation may then convene a meeting for the purpose of considering and possibly passing motions to approve your by-law. However, in some schemes you may have to wait until the next general meeting rather than convene a special one for your renovations.
Common issues that may occur during the approval process
Some common issues which you may encounter during the approval process are:
What can the owners corporation do if the work carried out has caused damage?
If your renovations cause some form of damage to the common property, the owners corporation may seek that the Tribunal make orders that you:
Other factors to consider
Some other factors that you should consider when seeking approval to undertake renovations are:
However, these factors are more likely to affect your approval process if your works are visible from outside the lot and impact the appearance of the building e.g. works in relation to roofing, balconies or windows.
Another factor to consider before you seek approvals to renovate your unit is that there are other options which may need to be considered. For example, if the works are more substantial, it may be better for you to perform a strata subdivision which means that you will seek to transfer part of the common property and make it part of your lot, rather than a section 108 approval/section 143 by-law.
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ABOUT US: DIY By-Laws is a division of leading strata law firm, Bannermans Lawyers. We are an innovative law firm, constantly striving to develop and create solutions for our clients and our industry and this platform is part of our vision to deliver digital legal services to the Australian property and strata industries.