So you have a beautiful kitchen remodel planned for your unit and you’re ready to begin – but have you gained approval from your strata scheme? We take a look at which renovations you’ll need approval for and how to go about getting the go ahead.
As of 2016, renovations for a strata unit or home in NSW are now classified into three separate categories:
- cosmetic work
- minor renovations
- major renovations.
What counts as a cosmetic renovation?
The first category of cosmetic renovations does not require approval from your strata scheme. This category includes regular maintenance or work such as installing wall hooks or screws, painting, installing or replacing handrails and the filling of minor holes or cracks in walls.
What does a minor renovation involve?
A minor renovation covers many of the most popular renovation jobs that owners wish to carry out that will not affect the building’s outside appearance or cause structural changes. This includes kitchen renovations, installing or replacing hard flooring, changing internal walls or recessed light fittings and installing items such as reverse cycle air conditioners. An owners corporation can also choose to pass a by-law that includes other definitions within this category if they are yet not included within another. An owners corporation may choose to delegate the approval of minor renovations to the strata committee.
Gaining approval for minor renovations
Minor renovations do require approval and will require a general resolution, or approval by at least 50% of eligible votes within an owners corporation. To gain approval you may need to provide plans, your intended schedule of the work and details of the tradespeople who will be completing the work.
What are major renovations?
Major renovations apply to changes that will be structural in nature or alter the external appearance of the property. Examples might include adding access ramps, altering structural walls or adding or updating the building’s waterproofing. Any works that will require council approval are also treated as a major renovation.
Gaining approval for major renovations
Major renovations require approval and require a special resolution, or approval by at least 75% of eligible votes within an owners corporation. Upon approval, the owner will also need to provide written notice describing the work to the owners corporation at least 14 days before that work begins. Unlike with minor renovations, owners corporation cannot choose to delegate the approval of major renovations to the strata committee.
Renovations and common property
If renovations require the use of common property, for example attaching air conditioner equipment to a common outside wall, then the owners corporation can decide whether to approve this (or not) through a common property rights by-law. This new by-law would also determine which party is responsible for the upkeep of that area of common property.
Have specific questions about renovating within your strata scheme? Simply contact your strata manager at Real Property Services for further information.