Strata reform in NSW

A number of reforms will be brought in to modernise the legislation for more than two million people in New South Wales who own, rent or manage strata.

More than 90 changes to the existing strata laws will be implemented on 30 November 2016, five years after public consultation first began.

Over 3,000 submissions were made, aimed to reduce red tape, avoid disputes and support the sector.

Of the 90 changes, there are some changes that will make a difference to your everyday:


The new strata by-laws will not remove a scheme’s ability to make its own rules about pets. However, if the new model by-law is adopted, the request to keep a pet cannot be unreasonably refused. If an owner believes approval was unreasonably withheld, they will be able to apply to the state tribunal.


Under the change, owners will be able to reach agreements with local councils to allow parking officers into their schemes to issue fines to rogue parkers. Residents who park over the lines of their parking spaces onto common property, or leave their cars in visitor parking (even if only briefly) could be ticketed.


New rules mean that hanging pictures, coat hooks and filling cracks can go ahead, while “minor alterations,” such as kitchen or bathroom renovations, installing timber or tile floors, and replacing wiring or power points no longer need a special resolution by-law. However, there are other laws that allow owners corporations to charge owners for any damage caused to common property.


An owners corporation can make a strata by-law banning smoking throughout an entire strata building. Orders can also be made against residents who smoke or allow their cigarette or barbecue smoke to drift into other units. Landlords can also be held liable to their tenants for second-hand smoke exposure.


Almost all fines will be paid to the owners corporation, but committees will still need to go through the same tribunal process.


Under the new laws, tenants will have the right to attend owners corporation meetings, no matter how many of the lots are tenanted in their scheme. They will also be able to vote if they hold a proxy (giving them voting rights on a lot owner’s behalf).


Voting electronically, via Skype calls, by email, and even good old-fashioned snail mail will be introduced.

You can read more about the by-law reforms here