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8 New Strata Laws NSW Apartment Dwellers
Need To Know

Do you know that more than a quarter of the NSW population now live, work or invest in
strata property? In fact, according to industry research, this figure is set to double by

Which is why, to better reflect the reality of modern strata communities, new
NSW strata laws come into effect from today.

By reviewing and reforming legislation, The Department of Fair Trading updated Strata
laws to reduce red tape and keep pace with our changing society to match the way we

With more than 90 changes to the strata legislation, how will they affect you?
While some mean big changes in the concept of cooperative living, others simply fine-
tune the existing laws, bylaws and rules.  

So, if you live in a strata property, here are the top 8 changes that will affect you in ways
that you may actually notice.

1. Smoking and Cigarettes
Strata communities may now police their own buildings to decide what they want to do
about neighbours’ smoke drift. Identified as a potential “nuisance” under the legal
meaning of the word, it’s now easier for residents to raise a complaint about cigarette
smoke drifting from another apartment. Owner corps will be able to implement designated
smoking areas within the common property.

2.  Pet-Friendly Changes
New pet-friendly by-laws means keeping pets could be easier. Owners' corporations can
control whether pets are allowed and on what terms. It also means unit owners may
appeal to the Tribunal if they believe their request for a pet was unreasonably refused.
Where a strata scheme allows pets, a tenant still requires their landlord’s permission.

3. Removing Abandoned Goods
Owners’ corporations now have a clearly defined power to remove and dispose of
abandoned goods which have been left on common areas, provided they follow
appropriate procedure.

4. Overcrowding With Sub-Lets
Owners’ corporations may now pass by-laws setting a maximum limit on the number of
people permitted to live in a unit. Although the new legislation sets a minimum of two
adults per bedroom with no limits on family members, the intention is to curb
overcrowding for commercial purposes. Fines have been raised to $5500 for a first
offence and $11,000 for a repeat offence.

5. Renovations and Approvals
To streamline the renovation process and cut red tape, 3 new by-laws govern cosmetic,
minor, and major renovations. This means that if you undertake a cosmetic update you
don’t need strata approval and will only need to notify the committee. A minor renovation
will require a vote by the committee while any major structural changes will involve a
special resolution at a general meeting. This is aimed at speeding up the renovations

6. Parking
The new laws clarify the rights of owners’ corporations to enter into arrangements with
their local council to police parking areas in their strata building. Aimed at strata-owned
carparks near commuter hubs, owners’ corporations will now have permission to move
cars which are illegally parked on common property.

Ticketing could also include those residents who park over the lines of their parking
spaces on to common property or leave their cars in visitor parking, even briefly.

7. Fines and Penalties
A significant change under the new laws means penalties are now payable to owners'
corporations rather than to the Government. Penalties will also increase under the new
laws. These changes will provide an added incentive for owners’ corporations to take
action against culprits who breach bylaws because they receive the money.

8. Tenants May Have More Say
Tenants will have a right to attend owners’ corporation meetings, except when financial
matters are being discussed. Depending upon the proportion of properties in the strata
scheme under tenancy, tenants may be invited to elect a representative to the strata

Tenants may vote, if they hold a proxy giving them voting rights on the behalf of a lot

Are There Any Other Obligations For Strata Residents Under The Act?
Yes, collective responsibility means you do need to be mindful of your obligations as
strata residents. Here’s a few things you need to know.

Strata residents must not:
  • interfere with or impact another person's lot. This includes services provided
    to you or to the common property.
  • cause a nuisance or hazard to other residents, for example by playing loud
  • interfere unreasonably with the use and enjoyment of common property by
    others in the scheme.

Ultimately, aimed at making apartment-living easier for owners and tenants, these new
strata laws help guide strata schemes to best manage their community’s needs to create,
a modern framework, taking strata living into the future.

To find out more information about how the NSW strata law reforms will affect
you, go to
New South Wales Government major changes to strata laws or call
the Strata Hotline on 1800 214 023.

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