Why do I Need Approval to Renovate?

What do I own and what is Common Property?

One of the main questions we get from strata owners is, why do I need approval to renovate? Having a clear understanding of your strata plan, lot and common property can explain what you own and what you share. It is important for lot owners to establish these answers to ensure the strata scheme is correctly managed and who is responsible for what.

Owners wanting to make changes or undertake lot renovations may be required to obtain approval or a by-law from the owners corporation if the type of works affect common property. Any renovations within a lot that involves alterations, additions or removals such as flooring, plumbing and waterproofing, require a by-law.

The picture below is a typical strata plan. This does not necessarily tell you all of the details about lot and common property, which is described by the relevant legislation and case law.

The general rule (subject to exceptions) for the majority of strata schemes registered after 1 July 1974 is:

  • The solid thick line on the strata plan is common property.
  • The ceiling, the structure of the floor (including fixed tiles or floorboards), the electrical wiring located in the ceiling, external windows and balcony doors are generally all considered common property.
  • Any internal walls not shown on the strata plan are considered lot property.
  • Any structure located on a thin line is also usually considered lot property.
  • A lot owner is responsible for lot property, including carpet, light fittings, blinds, curtains, toilet bowls, bath tubs and kitchen cupboards.

Exceptions (as the general position is seen as a guide) include strata plans registered before July 1974, a limited extent notations on the plan can modify the general position and any by-laws, alterations, additions or removal of common property put in place after registration of the plan.