Strata By Laws 101

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Strata By Laws 101

By Ivana Hayman and Alyce Kliese

What is a strata scheme?

A “strata scheme” is defined in the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 to mean “a freehold strata scheme or leasehold strata scheme”. It is usually characterised by a building or groups of buildings divided into air spaces known as “lots”. Examples can include townhouses, apartments, office spaces, industrial units, commercial units or retail units. Ownership of common property and common spaces (such as gardens, hallways and parking) is shared amongst the lot owners.

Rules of a strata scheme

Rules which govern the strata scheme are called “by-laws”. All owners or tenants residing within the strata scheme must abide by the by-laws. .

The NSW Government currently estimates that out of a population of approximately 8.2 million, 1.2 million people live in a strata scheme, which therefore means 1 in every 7 people are affected by by-laws. Common by-laws include by-laws in relation to pets, parking restrictions, noise levels, smoking restrictions, and the ability to dry laundry from visible locations (such as balconies).

The State Government has published model by-laws to provide strata schemes with a template which complies with legal requirements. An owner’s corporation can choose to use the model by-laws or create and modify their own.

Generally, Part 7 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 contains specifications for by-laws. Restrictions on by-laws are found at section 139. Restrictions include that by-laws cannot:

  1. be unjust, that is harsh, unconscionable or oppressive;
  2. conflict with existing laws;
  3. prevent dealings relating to a lot, sale or purchase or leasing for example; and
  4. ban children from occupying a lot or prevent someone from having an assistance animal.

An owner’s corporation can add, remove or change any by-laws with a vote at a general meeting.

Further information

The Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 can be found here: https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-2015-050

Need help with by laws in your Strata Scheme? Get in touch with Shaw Reynolds Lawyers to discuss the considerations today.