18 May Rental First
4 out of 4 series
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW
Strata schemes have plenty of time to understand and adjust to new requirements after the reforms start.
The existing owners corporation, which all owners automatically belong to, continues to operate. Also, the previous executive committee becomes the new ‘strata committee’. This means that there is no need to hold a meeting immediately after 30 November 2016, or appoint people to the strata committee until the next AGM.
BE AWARE THAT:
- Decisions already made and financial contributions already levied under pre 30 November laws remain valid once the new laws start
- Legal proceedings already underway will be dealt with under the former Act that was in place when proceedings began.
- There are some things that the strata committee, owners and occupants can do to begin preparing for the change.
A key step for anyone who owns or lives in a strata scheme is to start looking at the model by-laws. These provide sample rules that you can use to guide your strata scheme in thinking about how to operate in the future.
Review the new model by-laws and consider whether these may be suitable for your scheme. The model by-laws include options for rules on permitting pets, preventing nuisance smoke and other lifestyle issues.
All schemes must review their current by-laws by 30 November 2017. If your strata scheme decides that there should be changes, you can choose to adopt some or all of the model by-laws or adapt your current by-laws to better suit your scheme’s particular circumstances.
Consider how you would like to participate in meetings, such as electronically, by phone and whether your scheme should adopt electronic voting.
Landlords must notify the owners corporation in writing of each tenancy and can provide the tenant’s email address for the strata roll. This helps the strata committee to determine whether the strata scheme should have a tenant representative (where at least half of the properties are being rented).
Be part of the conversation when your by-laws are reviewed in the next 12 months and consider which changes could make it easier for you to rent out your unit, for example.
Become informed about the streamlined process for getting renovations approved. This should make it easier for you to add value to your investment. It should also make the process simpler if you decide to pursue a tenant’s request for alterations.
Review any contract with your strata managing agent or caretaker or building manager entered before 30 November 2016 and be aware of these end dates on their term of appointment:
- For a strata managing agent, all current contracts will end up to 3 years after their term commenced or on 30 May 2017 (that is, 6 months after the new laws start), whichever is the later.
- For a caretaker or building manager, all current contracts will remain in force for up to 10 years after the laws commence, unless there is a shorter period in the terms of the contract.
- Use your next AGM for the owners to consider the model by-laws, whether to use electronic notices and voting, and any other changes your scheme may want to adopt. Once you review your by-laws, the scheme will need to lodge a full set of all by-laws with the NSW Office of the Registrar General.
- Be aware that where at least half of the properties in the strata scheme are tenanted, the owners corporation must call a tenants meeting to elect a tenant’s representative. This must be done before the AGM.
- Also, make sure you understand how the new laws about proxies, renovations, and a collective sale will impact on the decision making of the scheme.
- Your scheme may also want to consider:
- Adopting the Common Property Memorandum to clarify repair and maintenance responsibilities
- Developing an internal dispute resolution process
Contact Rental First on 02 9095 2600 or enquire online http://www.rentalfirst.com.au/for-owners/.
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(4 out of 4 series).