I want to conduct renovations to my strata lot, do I need a by-law?

Whether or not you need a by-law depends on the nature of the works you intend to conduct. If the works affect common property (which is almost invariably the case) works are categorised into “cosmetic works”, “minor renovations”, or, works which don’t fall into either of those categories.

Cosmetic works

Cosmetic works do not require the approval of the owners corporation. Section 109 of the Act specifies the procedures in relation to cosmetic works.

The Act sets out the following as examples of cosmetic works:

  1. installing or replacing hooks, nails or screws for hanging paintings and other things on walls,
  2. installing or replacing handrails,
  3. painting,
  4. filling minor holes and cracks in internal walls,
  5. laying carpet,
  6. installing or replacing built-in wardrobes, and
  7. installing or replacing internal blinds and curtains.

The owners corporation can expand this list by special resolution.

There are specific obligations on the owner of a lot if damage is caused.

Minor renovations

Section 110 of the Act permits and owner to conduct “minor renovations” without a by-law. To conduct minor renovations you still need majority owners corporation approval at a general meeting.

Minor renovations are more substantial works than cosmetic works and include the following types of works:

  1. renovating a kitchen,
  2. changing recessed light fittings,
  3. installing or replacing wood or other hard floors,
  4. installing or replacing wiring or cabling or power or access points, and
  5. work involving reconfiguring walls.

Again there are obligations on the owner if they wish to conduct minor renovations and the requirements of the Act should be consulted in detail.

Importantly, certain work is excluded from the definition of minor renovations. Works which involve waterproofing, structural changes, or which change the external appearance of a lot are all excluded. Those kind of works will need a common property rights by-law.

Other works

If the works an owner proposes to do works which affect common property, and which are not cosmetic works or minor renovations, a special resolution is required to approve the works and in most cases a by-law will be required.

Examples of these kind of works include anything to do with waterproofing (e.g. if you renovate a bathroom and re-waterproof the floor), structural changes (e.g. if you wish to open up a new door way between the kitchen and the lounge room), and any works which affect the external appearance of a lot.

If you require a by-law to be prepared feel free to contact us for assistance.

Does your work involve waterproofing? You’ll definitely need a by-law! Fountain, by Marcel Duchamp – Original picture by Stieglitz