Strata by-laws are frameworks that keep all property owners on the same page, but sometimes they can be confusing. This article clears up some of the common misconceptions regarding by-laws.
If you’re living in a strata property, by-laws can be your friend and guide. Given enhancing community living is our aim, lets put our heads together to bust five common myths about strata property by-laws.
Common myths about strata property by-laws:
1. Smoking is banned.
Many times, people have questions about smoking on the balcony of strata apartments – that’s a fair ask. Your balcony is your own property, but smoke tends to go into neighbouring apartments through their balconies and windows.
While everybody has a right to enjoy their property in their own way, be mindful that your smoking does not disrupt the peace of your neighbours and sour your relationship with them. Your property by-laws should have clear pointers on smoking on common property – so take note of no-smoking signs in common areas and respect them.
2. No pets allowed.
Pet owners know the true happiness of having their pets around. While your state laws may be relaxed regarding pet ownership, your strata property by-laws may require you to follow some rules which make life easy for pet owners and non-pet owners alike, while ensuring common property is not damaged or compromised by pets.
You should also take care to have your pets fully vaccinated and trained so that they don’t pose a threat to other residents in the strata property. As a pet owner, you must be accountable for your pet’s activities and care at all times.
3. I can’t be an Airbnb host.
If you’re a short-term letting host, make sure your guests are aligned with the rules of maintaining common property and do not create a nuisance for your neighbours during their stay.
While government regulations are reasonably flexible, NSW state laws are stricter for owners who don’t live on the property that they let out in the short term – so if you’re one, make sure you are compliant even when you’re absent, and your owners corporation is aware of your short-term letting practices.
Also, make sure your tenants are aware of the by-laws. It helps to spell it out clearly in the tenancy agreement to avoid disputes and hassles.
4. My party, my rules.
Living under a strata scheme means being sensitive to community living. So, if your partying is affecting your neighbour’s right to a peaceful life on their own property, you can be restricted by your by-laws and planning regulations.
Remember to also be considerate of your neighbours if they complain of noise, barbeque or cigarette smoke getting into their property from yours.
5. By-laws cannot be changed.
By-laws are a set of mutually agreed upon rules by owners corporations and body corporates, for a hassle-free co-existence of all owners.
So, if they’re not helping maintain decorum in your strata property, or if they’re incomplete, ambiguous, or outdated, they can always be changed to suit the changing needs of property owners and their residents. By-laws that go against state legislation can be invalidated by an adjudicator.
If you wish to propose changes to your by-laws, you may file a motion at an annual general meeting (AGM) and seek majority owners approval through votes. Different states have different processes for gathering majority votes and finalising changes to by-laws and building rules. So, make sure to formalise your request accordingly and get in touch with your committee if you have questions.
Use this guide to help you navigate your strata by-laws.
The information provided is a general guide only and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. The company disclaims all responsibly and liability for any expenses, losses, damages and costs which might be incurred as a result of the information provided by the company.