One of the biggest flaws of strata ownership comes into light when the time to renovate your house or building comes. If you owned the structure yourself you could make any alterations you liked, as long as they were in accordance with municipal building bylaws. A strata scheme means that you have to ask the real owners for permission for all types of work, from changing the plumbing to repainting the façade. Of course, there exists a difference between minor and major renovations and this factor will determine whether the whole conundrum is truly worth the trouble. Getting to know better all types of renovation will help you reach the final decision.
As of 2015, the strata management laws in parts of Australia distinguish between three major types of renovations: cosmetic, minor, and major. The first of the three categories is perhaps the most interesting one, not because of its catchy name but because it hadn’t existed prior to the new regulation. The biggest novelty is that cosmetic work does not require owners to seek approval from the owners corporation. However, tenants are still required to ask owners for permission to change the slightest of details.
One might wonder what exactly constitutes “cosmetic” work. The list is exhaustive but some of the most common renovations would include hanging pictures on the wall that requires a nail or a crew to go in the wall (on the inside), mending or installing new handrails, painting the structure, laying carpets, fixing minor cracks or holes in the walls, etc. Basically, there are all day to day fixes that would be more of a nuisance thatn a real request for renovation if you brought them before the strata manager. The only prerequisite is that all repairs and alterations have to be carried out properly and in their entirety.
The next type of renovations are minor ones that do require you as the owner to ask the strata company for approval. In fact, you have to obtain a 50% majority to pass a resolution at the general meeting. However, things were even more complicated in the past when you needed to secure a special resolution, unlike the general one you need now. In order to know which renovations are considered minor, you can always ask strata companies like Eling Strata Management to clarify the regulation for you.
In general, these renovations are restricted to improving the quality of life inside your housing units. Some of the most requested minor renovations are: redoing the kitchen, replacing the light fittings, changing the electric wiring and plumbing, restoring hardwood floors, reconfiguring walls, and installing solar panels, a heat pump or insulation.
The request for these and similar renovation project should contain a written proposal that lists the details of the proposed work. These include the copy of the plans, the estimated duration of the work, the person in charge of getting the rubbish out, and the details of the construction company, if any.
The final type are major renovation. As you might have guessed, a special resolution is needed to carry them out so you will need at least 75% of votes at the general meeting. It is easy for members if the owners corporation to determine what constitute a “major” renovation because these are all renovations sans the cosmetic and minor ones. In most strata schemes, major work is regulated by special bylaw.
In the field, these renovations usually mean that a new structure is going to get erected, like a garden shed. Furthermore, you can add a new section to the existing structure, such as a nursery over the garage. In fact, this is a very common request, as tenants’ families grow in size and need more room. After all, the law states that “improving or enhancing the common property” is the main reason behind initiating major renovations.
Now that you what all three types of renovations imply, you can decide whether you want to dabble with home improvements in the first place. Cosmetic changes are something that shouldn’t be given much taught before executing and major repairs usually regard more than one tenant so it’s a community initiative. The most important category of renovation work are minor renovations that you should consult the strata manager before setting about to do them.