The new NSW Strata Laws came into effect on 30 November 2016. Now almost two years in, these changes have in many ways overhauled and simplified strata living for the 15 per cent of New South Welshmen who live in a strata scheme.

311/45 Shelley Street, Sydney, NSW

Here is a quick recap of the most significant changes the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015, has had to everyday strata living.

1. Parking.

Strata schemes are now able to engage local councils to monitor their above ground car parks. If engaged, council parking rangers are able to issue warnings and fines to vehicles misusing the facilities. This regulation change has had a positive impact on many schemes located near busy commuter hubs.

Likewise, owners corporations also have the ability to tow illegally parked vehicles, provided they have taken the appropriate steps prior.

1/389 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst, NSW

2. The classification of smoking as a nuisance.

Second hand smoke is now defined as a nuisance. This makes it significantly easier for residents to raise concerns to the strata manager and for their concerns to be actioned.

3. Name change to committees.

Executive committees are now known as strata committees. This change was made to remove confusion around members of the committee having special privileges or secret perks. The function of the committee did not change once the Act was implemented.

4. Increased levels of financial transparency.

Many strata agencies are able to use their size for buying power to partner with various insurance agencies to generate deals for customers. It is now compulsory for strata managers to make it known when they are receiving commission on the sale of compulsory insurance to a scheme.

5. Changes to strata contract limits.

In the interest of consumer choice and keeping prices fair, strata management agencies can now only be appointed for a maximum of three years on an existing plan. New schemes are offered even more flexibility, with strata contracts only being allowed a maximum 12-month term, to allow property owners the opportunity to assess services levels before making a commitment.

6. Meeting participation changes.

Under the Act, owners corporations can decided how meetings are held and how owners can cast votes. Meeting attendance can now be done remotely via telephone and participation in voting can be conducted online through voting applications should the owners corporation pass a resolution to approve this.

7. An increase in fines.

Owners corporations can now issue fines of up to $550 to residents for regular by-law breaches. Overcrowding fines have also skyrocketed with first time breaches costing owners $5500. Owners with subsequent overcrowding offences can be fined up to $11,000.

For more information about strata rules and regulations check out these rules of apartment living and strata 101: what you need to know before buying off the plan.

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.

Author

PICA Group is one of Australia’s leading property services and strata companies. As a market leader, we aim to continuously redefine the experience of owning a property for the better through a range of businesses offering strata management, facilities management, receivables management, and property development services. Follow 'PICA Group' on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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