The process to authorise major works in a lot within a strata scheme can be complex and it normally involves the adoption of a special by-law making the lot owner responsible for any damages to the portion of common property affected by the works.

Under section 111(b) and (c) of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015, a lot owner will only be allowed to carry out major renovations if authorised to do so:

(b)  under a by-law made under this Part or a common property rights by-law, or

(c)  by an approval of the owners corporation given by special resolution or in any other manner authorised by the by-laws.

Any changes to a strata scheme’s by-laws (including the approval of a special by-law allowing an owner to carry out major works) must be passed by a special resolution of the Owners Corporation at a general meeting.

For lot owners wishing to carry out major renovations not only does the by-law have to be passed by special resolution, but it must also registered before they commence their works. Why is this so? Under section 141(2) of the Act, a change of by-law will have no effect until the new by-law is actually registered with the Land Registry Services and a new Certificate of Title, inclusive of the dealing registering the new by-law, is prepared by the Land Registry Services.

A by-law needs to be submitted for registration with the Land Registry Services within six months of the motion being passed at a general meeting .  Failure to do so will result in the motion having to be re-passed, which would mean additional costs and delays for the lot owner.

In summary, there are three main steps that a lot owner wishing to conduct major works should tick before they can proceed with the works:

  1. Having a by-law motion prepared (preferably by a strata lawyer);
  2. Having the by-law motion passed by special resolution at a general meeting of the Owners Corporation; and
  3. Ensuring that the new by-law has been registered and noted on the new Certificate of Title prepared by the Land Registry Services.

The team at Kerin Benson Lawyers has extensive experience in successfully assisting lot owners in drafting and registering special by-laws authorising major works – please feel free to get in contact with us for any questions that you may have in connection with the renovations of your strata lot.

Authors: Michela Alesse and Allison Benson