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Reform of strata and community scheme laws 

What is this about? 

The NSW Government is reforming NSW strata law.

NSW has around 75,000 schemes worth $350 billion in assets. The reforms will affect some 2 million industry professionals, strata owners, and residents in strata-titled townhouses and units.

Based on consultation, 70 proposed reforms will update 50-year-old Strata Title. Together, they will help to guide strata schemes to best manage their strata community's needs into the future.

It is anticipated that community scheme reform will be addressed subsequently. Check our website for future updates.     

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Register for email updates 

Before the proposed reforms start, NSW Fair Trading will provide updates and information on how changes will affect the rights and responsibilities of people involved in strata schemes. Register here for strata email updates.

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What's happened so far? 

Research and people having their say has informed the comprehensive reforms. This includes 1,200 online and 1,900 discussion paper submissions.

The following consultations took place:  

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What’s happening now? 

The Government is continuing to talk with key stakeholders.

Keep informed by checking this page for updates or Register here for strata email updates

Reforms snapshot 

Take a look at what proposed reforms could mean for you.

Changes regarding strata scheme rules (by-laws):

  • Strata schemes will be able to adopt all or any new model by-laws (standard rules) that suit them. The owners corporation (formerly body corporate) will need to review their rules within a set period to check if changes are needed.
  • Pet-friendly units will be encouraged, but not mandated, by reversing the default pet ban in model by-laws.
  • Real-estate agents and landlords will have to give residents up-to-date by-laws.
  • Repeat offenders who have breached a by-law within the last 12 months will be able to be penalised without reissuing a notice to comply or further mediation.
  • Neighbours' health will be better protected through additional means to fine smokers for smoke drifting from their balcony or a common area.
  • Owners corporations will be able to deter overcrowding by introducing an upper-limit rule on occupiers per bedroom.

Changes to support the fair and efficient management of your scheme: 

  • Reforms will bring strata law up-to-speed with the Internet era. This includes options for your scheme to email, keep and issue electronic records, and to network and attend meetings ‘virtually’. 
  • Tenants will be able to attend meetings and elect a non-voting representative to attend the strata committee to represent their interests (where more than half a scheme is tenanted).
  • Clearer, common-sense approvals for owner renovations will be introduced, waiving restrictions for minor, cosmetic changes to lots such as handrails inside the lot to make it safer for elderly people.
  • Owners corporations will have to outline how they plan to fund their 10-year sinking fund plan.
  • To promote fair play, proxy voting limits will help to curb proxy harvesting.
  • Strata managers will have new accountabilities and a 3-term limit.
  • Schemes may engage their local council (subject to council arrangements) to patrol their scheme and impose parking penalties.
  • For new schemes there will be a developer bond, independent defects report, and a maintenance and servicing schedule prepared by developers. This will be used to inform budgets and levies and proactively limit escalating costs, disputes and damage from defects.
  • Fair and transparent collective sale and renewal will give schemes checks and balances to investigate revitalisation. This includes time for each owner to consider and seek advice on supporting a detailed plan for renewal. Similar arrangements operate in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and other jurisdictions.

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Useful information 

Free events with information on current laws include:

You can also find information on current laws using the Strata schemes section of our site.

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Property industry news is Fair Trading's email alert service that provides timely information for property industry professionals. Subscribe to Property industry news.

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