Works that are not cosmetic works or minor renovations, commonly referred to as major works, are more serious works to the common property. You will need a by-law for these works to be authorised. This requires a special resolution to be passed at a general meeting of the owners corporation and also the written consent of all owners of your lot. Once passed, the by-law will need to be registered at the NSW Land Registry Services within six months for it to be effective.
Many owners corporations adopt blanket work by-laws which set out the conditions under which works can be carried out. These by-laws will include a template by-law which adopts the conditions set out in the blanket works by-law. Each time an owner wants to carry out major works, they will simply need to insert their lot number, strata plan number, scope of works and attach any plans to the template by-law. This by-law will then be tabled at a general meeting of the owners corporation and once passed, registered at the NSW Land Registry Services.
In addition, there are also services which allow lot owners to create their own by-laws by inputting their lot details, strata plan details, scope of works and plans into a system and a by-law will then be generated using a standard template.
The main issues we have come across with these type of by-laws are as follows:
- Owners corporations will sometimes repeal and replace blanket work by-laws. This means that all the template by-laws that have been registered pursuant to that blanket work by-law will refer to conditions in a by-law that has been repealed and is no longer in effect. Owners corporations should be careful not to repeal blanket work by-laws but instead to insert a note that the blanket works by-law applies only to those specific by-laws and any work by-laws subsequent to that will need to adhere to the new blanket works by-law.
- Lot owners sometimes do not accurately set out the scope of works and attach relevant plans to the by-laws. It is important that the works being carried out are properly set out in the by-law. Where the scope of works refer to plans, these should be annexed to the by-law or minutes or notice of general meeting and the by-law should specifically state this.
While DIY by-laws has its benefits and can be cost effective, if you are unsure of how to properly set out your works in these by-laws, it is prudent to obtain assistance from your strata manager or a lawyer. This is to ensure that your works will be properly authorised.
This is general information and should not be considered to be legal advice. You should obtain legal advice specific to your individual situation.
Authors: Jasmin H.Singh and Allison Benson