8 Things to Consider Before You Renovate Your Unit

Inger Brettle

When you are considering renovating your strata unit, apartment, townhouse or villa there are a number of important aspects to consider before you start any work:

1. Check applicable by-laws and seek prior approval by the Owners Corporation.

2. Check with your local council to see if your proposed works require a development application to be lodged with council.

3. Are you required to reimburse the Owners Corporation in return for the exclusive use of an area of common property? You are recommended to seek legal advice. If you do not know how much the exclusive use area is worth, you should consider hiring a registered valuer to obtain a value of the exclusive use area.

4. Have you received written consent from the Owners Corporation and have the relevant By-Laws been passed by a special resolution at a General Meeting of the Owners Corporation?

5. Your Strata lawyer will require the following documents in order to record the new by-law: the Owners Corporation's original certificate of title, copies of your strata plan, the scheme’s current by-laws, your lot number, specifications of the works being done, any drawings or diagrams and the full name of the lot owner for the by-law consent form.

6. Allow about 7 to 10 days to have your by-law registered at the Department of Land and Property Information of NSW.

7. Be mindful that if you are in breach with any of the by-laws the owners corporation might take legal action against you to have that alteration or addition removed and the common property restored back to its original state and condition (only after a failed attempt to remediation).

8. If the owners corporation refuses to grant approval to carry out your works, you should first consider making enquiries with your executive committee you may attempt mediation with the owners corporation. If that process is unsuccessful you should seek legal advice on your prospects before lodging an application with an adjudicator to seek an order to make the by-law approving the works. It is important to get these kinds of application right the first time.

It is always recommended to contact your strata manager and seek their early engagement. Contact us if you would like to discuss your strata related matters.