Those owning and living in a strata plan in New South Wales should be prepared for the possibility of changes after the updated strata legislation passed through the state’s parliament yesterday.


The Strata Scheme Management Bill and Strata Scheme Development Bill both passed thought the state’s Legislative Council yesterday and the two bills contain more than 90 changes to how strata agreements are governed.


NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello said the laws are an important step forward for the state.


“Today more than two million people live and work in strata. The new laws will cater for the needs of 21st century strata living,” Dominello said.


“The new laws will modernise collective decision making processes, increase protections against unresolved building defects and improve outdated regulation impacting on renovations,” he said.


Of the nearly 100 changes in the updated legislation, perhaps most notable are the requirement that only 75% of owners would need to agree for an apartment building to be sold and the requirement of developers to lodge a bond of 2% of the contracted price of the building as a form of security to fix any defective work.


Proxy-vote farming will also be restricted and management committees will get greater powers to deal with issues such as parking, pets and smoke drift.


The reduced requirement of what is needed for an apartment block to be sold has been welcomed by the NSW branch of the Urban Design Institute of Australia (UDIA).


“This is a fantastic outcome that will give owners of apartments more flexibility to renew dilapidated apartment buildings which are costly to maintain,” UDIA NSW chief executive officer Stephen Albin said.


“And these new laws will give owners the opportunity to make more profit from the collective sale of a strata development than if they were to go it alone,” Albin said.


While the changes could mean that people who don’t want to sell are forced to, Albin said it’s not going to be a case of people being dumped on the street.


“In reality any collective sale of the strata development is complex and will take up to two years to achieve,” he said.


“The sale would have to go through courts and those in opposition will have the opportunity to argue their case.”