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By-Law Review - Are you Ready?

Monday, 24th March 2014

Assuming the proposed strata reform set out in the white paper commences on or after August 2014 as heralded in the media, all strata schemes will need to review their by-laws within 12 months.

Some things for the schemes to consider in a review include:

 

Unauthorised works: Many lot owners in schemes have conducted works without the appropriate by-law, such as section 52 and/or S65A by-law for works such as bathroom and kitchen refits, awnings, air conditioning etc.  These schemes should consider putting in place a section 52 by-law to properly authorise the keeping of these works and to transfer the obligations of repair and maintenance to the lot owner and successive lot owners.

Problems with standard by-laws: Many schemes have adopted standard by-laws and their inherent problems which can be improved, such as:

  • By-law 2 regarding parking on common property: Enforcement is difficult as it requires evidence of the offender being caught in the act of parking their vehicle on the common property without consent, not just evidence that the owner or occupier's car is parked on the common property.
  • By-law 5 regarding damage to common property.  This by-law inadvertently gives the impression that an owner or person authorised by the owner can install locks which do not satisfy fire safety compliance measures causing problems when obtaining annual fire safety statements.

Invalid by-laws: As by-laws are not vetted by the Department of Land and Property Information, many schemes have invalid by-laws and should consider obtaining advice as to whether they should be repeated.

Tailored standard by-laws: Many schemes have untailored standard by-laws and should consider tailoring or amending their by-laws to suit the scheme.  

 

Consolidation of by-laws As part of the reform package a consolidated set of all by-laws is to be held by the Department of Land and Property Information (LPI) and shall be recorded on the common property certificate of title each time a new by-law is registered.

 

Steps moving forward Schemes should prepare to commence a review and:

  • consider what works are unauthorised and require approval by way of an appropriate by-law;
  • consider making, amending and updating their by-laws to suit their scheme; and 
  • consider repealing, amending or replacing invalid or defective laws.

 

***The information contained in this article is general information only and not legal advice. The currency, accuracy and completeness of this article (and its contents) should be checked by obtaining independent legal advice before you take any action or otherwise rely upon its contents in any way.

For more information, please visit our website.

 

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