Renovations – Do I Need A By-Law?
Some owners prefer not to “rock the boat” or worry about “red tap” and therefore fail to request a by-law and approval at an owners corporation meeting. Executive committees often take a similar view, thinking it will make their lives simpler and avoid friction. However, this is a bad idea, for both lot owners and owners corporations.
Some things to consider:
1. Renovations usually involve some alteration of common property requiring owners corporation approval under section 65A of the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996, so an EGM is generally required anyway, irrespective whether a by-law is proposed.
2. These sorts of by-laws are usually inexpensive.
3. Doing things the right way encourages other owners to do likewise and not take the law into their own hands.
4. A lot owner benefits from a by-law because he or she may need exclusive use and the rights can be easily transferred if the unit is sold.
5. The owners corporation benefits from a by-law because it makes clear who is responsible for repairs and maintenance. It will also be important if the work needs council approval or may have some impact on fire safety systems.
6. By-laws reduce risk for executive committee members, who may have personal liability, which may not be covered by office bearers’ insurance, if they approve renovations informally and there is a problem.