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Strata approval process explained

Decisions in a strata apartment building get made by apartment owners and / or the executive committee.

A strata manager or building manager can offer advice or organise the work to be carried out, but they cannot approve decisions. Any action by the strata or building manager is made by direction of the executive committee. Read more about the roles of key people.

How decisions are approved

If the decision is a minor or inexpensive one then it is probably something that the executive committee can make a decision on without needing to engage every owner. Depending on where you live this might be referred to as a ‘restricted matter’.

If your project is expensive or has an impact on many people living in the building then you will probably need to table a ‘motion’ to be voted on in a meeting. This is especially the case if the project will affect the rights, privileges and future obligations of other owners.

Introduce your project

The first thing you can do is introduce your Smart Blocks project to the executive committee and other apartment owners. Depending on how things are organised in your apartment building the executive committee might meet monthly, quarterly or on an ad-hoc basis.

If the executive committee provides positive feedback your project then you could do more research to obtain quotes and submit a business case.

1. Strata scheme legislation

You might receive questions about whether your project breaks any of the laws that strata buildings are governed by. The strata scheme legislation that applies to your building will vary depending on what state you live in.

Strata legislation is complex so you can contact the regulator in you state if you find yourself in a situation where you need to check whether legislation or by-laws will affect your project getting approved.

VIC

Consumer Affairs Victoria

Web: www.consumer.vic.gov.au/

Phone: 1300 55 81 81

WA

Landgate

Web: www.landgate.wa.gov.au 

Phone: (08) 9273 7373

TAS

Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading

Web: www.consumer.tas.gov.au

Phone: 1300 65 44 99

ACT

Office of Regulatory Services

Web: www.ors.act.gov.au

Phone: 6207 3000



ACT Planning and Land Authority (part of Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate)

Web: www.environment.act.gov.au

Phone: 13 22 81

QLD

The Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management

Web: www.justice.qld.gov.au/justice-services/body-corporate-and-community-management

Phone: 1800 060 119

NT

Department of Justice Administers the activities of unit title managers.

Information concerning licensing issues can be obtained from its Deputy Registrar of Land, Business and Conveyancing Agents division.

Web: www.nt.gov.au/justice

Phone (08) 8999 1307

The Community Justice Centre Provides mediation services to help people resolve their own disputes without legal action.

Web: www.nt.gov.au/justice/policycoord/cjc/index.shtml

Phone: (08) 8999 1999

SA

Consumer and Business Services

Web: www.cbs.sa.gov.au/wcm

Phone: 131 882

NSW

Fair Trading Services

Web: www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au

Phone: 13 32 20

Language assistance: 13 14 50

TTY for hearing impaired: 1300 723 404

Aboriginal tenancy: 1800 500 330

2. Working with by-laws

In addition to strata scheme legislation you will also need to ask your strata manager or executive committee for a full copy of the by-laws specific to your apartment building.

You might find that by-laws are called ‘Articles’ or ‘Rules’ in some states.

By-laws:

  • Are a set of rules that all people living in the strata scheme must follow
  • Apply equally to tenants and owners
  • Can be made or changed to meet the needs of all owners and to assist with running the scheme
  • Are designed for the control, management, administration, use and enjoyment of the lots and common property

You might discover an existing by-law that prevents your project from being implemented. If this is the case then you next steps depend on the rules for the state you live in.

In Victoria you would need to draft a motion for the by-law to be revoked and a new one to be adopted that allows your project to proceed.

In other states like New South Wales, a ‘special privilege by-law’ allows the executive committee to make an exception by providing special privileges to undertake an activity or make an installation on a specific area of common property.

Major decisions such as changing a by-law can require support from 75 per cent of all owners, depending on the legislation relevant to the state you live in.

  • Check with the regulator in your state
  • Talk with the other apartment owners to see if they would vote in support of a special privilege by-law that would allow your project to be approved