New strata laws will commence 30th November, 2016.  They laws have been modernised in line with living needs in strata blocks in 2016.  These laws are important for purchasers of homes because more than a quarter of NSW's population lives in, owns or manages a strata property, and strata properties form the bulk of investment property purchases.

Some key changes include:

  • Increasing the accountability of strata managers
  • Allowing owners to use technology to conduct meetings, vote, communicate and administer their scheme, for example using email to vote and having notices disseminated via email.  Social media and teleconference may also be used to hold meetings.
  • Changes to the process for the collective sale and renewal of a strata scheme
  • A simpler, clearer process for dealing with disputes
  • Broadening tenant participation in meetings: currently, tenants cannot participate in body corporate meetings
  • A new option to manage unauthorised parking, including the issuance of fines
  • Changes to the process to be followed for planned renovations.  Only a 50% majority vote will be required (general resolution).  A special resolution (75% majority vote) will be required for major changes to the exterior of the property.
  • Strata committees will replace what was previously known as the executive committee
  • Strata buildings will be inspected for defects against the new Australian Standard, which will be introduced as the standard for inspections.  There will be mandatory defect inspection reports, and the developer will need to prepare a maintenance schedule.  This will increase the accountability of builders and enable defects to be identified and corrected.
  • Changes to proxy voting will prevent an individual controlling owners' decisions by obtaining a majority of proxy votes.
  • By-laws will be introduced to address smoke drift into units and common property
  • By-laws will also make it easier to keep pets (schemes can still decide against this)
  • Reforms will allow strata schemes to take action against excessive noise and issue fines