Renovations

Renovations By-Laws Service Link

Approval of Renovations

Owners of lots in strata title schemes often wish to undertake renovations and the approvals required to carry out and use those works varies from scheme to scheme. Fortunately, this approvals process has been simplified for some works by the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (“SSMA 2015”) and Regulations under that SSMA 2015. However:

 

Renovations to strata units may require council approval. This will depend on the nature of the renovations, as well as the council involved. It will differ from council to council, so it is always a good idea to check.

 

The important question of who owns what needs to be established, as the answer will dictate how a strata scheme is correctly managed and who is responsible for what parts of a strata scheme.

 

Ownership and use rights

 

We have recently seen an increasing number of requests from lot owners in strata schemes to obtain a right of ownership or use for common property areas comprised in:

  • Attics
  • Courtyards
  • Balconies

Owners and developers of strata units considering renovations or subdivisions need to consider whether council approval is required. Failure to obtain a required approval can have serious consequences, including penalties, upgrade or demolition orders and prejudice to insuring, leasing, mortgaging or selling the property in the future.

 

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.

 

Objecting to a Development Proposal and how to do it effectively:

The laws in relation to planning consents and development applications have undergone significant change in the last few years. 

 

Owners of investment properties will, from time to time, carry out renovations. In fact, an investment property owner may even have acquired the property with a view to carrying out renovations and making a gain on sale of the property. At the least, an investment property owner will want to maintain the condition of the property to comply with obligations under tenancy laws and to maximise the rental value of the property.

 

Anecdotally, we understand that SiCorp trading as the Home Building Compensation Fund (HBCF), the insurer who administers and underwrites insurance under the HBCF (formerly known as Home Owners Warranty Insurance) has tightened controls on the issuing of that insurance.

 

Summary

Bannermans were given instructions for interim orders to stop a lot owner carrying out unauthorised works to common property including works requiring waterproofing. Interim orders were granted and served on the lot owner. The lot owner ceased works and agreed to requisition a motion and by-law regarding the works. The by-law was passed and registered. The lot owner continued the works in accordance with the by-law.